Scientific: Strelitzia reginae
Common: bird of paradise
Family: Strelitizaceae
Origin: South Africa

Pronounciation: Stre-LIT-see-a re-gi-NA-e

Hardiness zones
9, 12-21 (with protection), 22-24
USDA 9 (w/ adequate protection), 10-11

Landscape Use: Protected entry way accent, mesic landscape shade gardens, shaded poolside plant.

Form & Character: Herbaceous perennial, upright, bold and rigid, tropical.

Growth Habit: Moderately basally clumping to 5 feet in height with a 6 feet wide spread.

Foliage/Texture: Elongated gray green leathery leaves with a dominate succulent midvein and extended sheathed petiole, leaves tend to show marginal tip necrosis in Phoenix; coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Beautiful, multicolor flower with whites, oranges, blues.

Seasonal Color: Flower in late fall and winter.

Temperature: Intolerant of freezing temperatures and temperatures about 100oF.

Light: Partial to full shade is a necessity for sustainable culture of bird of paradise in lower southwest desert landscapes. Likewise, foliar leaf scorch (sunburn) is almost a certainty when grown in full sun.

Soil: Light to heavy, avoid high alkalinity.

Watering: Regular

Pruning: Remove spent flowers on a stalk as they senesce.

Propagation: Division of basal clumps every 5 years will generate a plethora of young plants.

Disease and pests: Bird of paradise provdes cover for snails and slugs in southern California. In contrast, there are no disease or pest problems in Phoenix.

Additional comments: Bird of paradise is the Los Angeles city flower where it blooms profusely in winter and spring. HOwever, bird of paradise's blooming intensity (both flower number and color intensity) is greatly reduced in Phoenix because of its higher shade requirement for sustainable culture.