Find out how to Develop Hen of Paradise Crops (Strelitzia)

Strelitzia spp.

In case you are on the lookout for a plant with giant, show-stopping blooms, look no additional than the fowl of paradise.

With its orange, blue, and white flowers that appear like a fowl in flight, this plant simply can’t be ignored.

And this South African native will develop fortunately year-round all through hotter elements of the US.

A close up vertical image of the unusual flowers of Strelitzia reginae growing in the garden surrounded by foliage on a green soft focus background. To the center and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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Able to get began? I’ll clarify all the pieces it’s worthwhile to know to develop vigorous fowl of paradise vegetation in your personal backyard in Zones 9-12.

Right here’s what’s forward:

What Is Hen of Paradise?

This herbaceous perennial is uncommon in northern climates, however prevalent in gardens and on roadsides in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-12 and typically in hotter areas of Zone 9 as effectively.

A close up horizontal image of Strelitzia reginae flowers blooming in the garden surrounded by dark green foliage pictured on a soft focus background.

Named for its gorgeous flowers, the plant grows slowly in clumps as its underground stem divides, whereas the foliage grows in a fan-like sample and resembles banana leaves.

Flowers are produced in teams of 1 to 3 on lengthy stalks.

Hen of paradise vegetation are also called crane flowers, a extra exact description of the form of their blooms.

Orange sepals and blue petals emerge from a modified leaf referred to as a bract. Two of the blue petals be part of collectively to kind a nectary – an organ that secretes nectar.

The vegetation bloom on and off yr spherical in appropriate climates.

Mature, wholesome vegetation can produce as much as 36 flower spikes a yr, which is able to final for weeks.

Native to southern Africa, there are 5 species within the Strelizia genus. The commonest species grown within the US are S. reginae, S. nicolai, and S. alba.

When you dwell within the southwestern US, you could be acquainted with different vegetation identified by the identical widespread identify.

The birds of paradise that develop so effectively on this area are a completely completely different species within the legume household, Caesalpinia.

A close up horizontal image of Caesalpinia gilliesii growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.
Caesalpinia gilliesii

The three mostly seen are the purple C. pulcherrima, yellow C. gilliesii (reclassified as Poinciana gilliesii), and the Mexican fowl of paradise, C. mexicana.

Cultivation and Historical past

As soon as thought of a part of the banana household, these vegetation have escaped this lowly destiny and now have their very own household – the Strelitziaceae.

A close up vertical image of Strelitzia reginae growing indoors pictured on a black background.

Hen of paradise flowers are so storied that they have been a recipient of the Award of Backyard Benefit from the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society in 1993.

They’re pleasant as minimize flowers and are bought by the million for use in floral preparations.

These vegetation are low upkeep which makes them worthwhile for city landscaping. They’re generally seen rising in site visitors islands and in gardens in condominium complexes in California.

Even higher is their tendency to remain put. Not like tree roots that may ultimately elevate sidewalks, fowl of paradise roots don’t thicken because the vegetation age.

Hen of paradise vegetation have been launched to Europe in 1773 when Francis Masson, plant collector, introduced specimens from the japanese Cape area of South Africa to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

The genus Strelitzia was named for Queen Charlotte Sophie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the spouse of the reigning monarch on the time, King George III.

Even the scientific identify of the widespread fowl of paradise, S. reginae, is regal, with the Latin phrase reginae translating to queen in English.

A close up horizontal image of Strelitzia reginae growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

Hen of paradise vegetation have been launched into California in 1853 by Colonel Warren, editor of the California Farmer journal, and have been accessible on the market in Montecito, a rich enclave of Santa Barbara within the 1870s.

These vegetation grew to become such emblems of southern California that in 1952 they have been named the official flower of the town of Los Angeles by Mayor Fletcher Bowron.

Of their native South Africa, the flower is so standard that it’s featured on the coat of arms of the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

It additionally adorns the logo of a excessive South African honor – the Order of the Ikhamanga. The president of South Africa has the facility to grant this honor to residents for achievements in literature, tradition, arts, journalism, music, and sports activities.

Hen of paradise vegetation develop wild amongst different shrubs alongside riverbanks in lots of elements of South Africa, and are necessary sources of nectar for birds.


Rising fowl of paradise vegetation from seed can take three to 10 years, however propagating them by division produces new vegetation way more shortly.

By Division

You may dig up mature clumps in late spring or early summer season and divide these with 4 to 5 shoots or extra into single- or multiple-stem divisions.

A close up horizontal image of a clump of Strelitzia reginae growing outside a tennis court with a chain link fence in the background.

Relying on the dimensions of the clump, you’ll must mark a radius eight to 12 inches out from the bottom of the plant, and dig right down to a depth of 10 to 24 inches. Pull up the plant and minimize by means of the basis ball cleanly with a gardening knife or shovel.

If the plant is rising in a container, elevate it out of the pot, and minimize by means of the basis ball with a pointy knife. Be sure every part has no less than one stem hooked up.

Plant every division within the floor on the similar depth because the part of root ball or right into a pot eight to 12 inches huge and deep – or bigger – relying on the dimensions of your division.

Hold the soil moist for no less than three months till the roots are established. Then, if desired, you can begin fertilizing them as described under.

You need to have mature flowering vegetation in a single to 3 years.

An alternative choice is to take away younger offshoots from mature vegetation.

Be taught extra about the right way to divide fowl of paradise flowers on this information.

From Seed

In case you are affected person, you may develop these vegetation from seeds. Your vegetation ought to begin blooming in three to 5 years.

A close up horizontal image of the dramatic flowers of Strelitzia reginae growing in the garden, pictured in filtered sunshine with shrubs in soft focus in the background.

Nonetheless, some sources declare that it might probably take so long as 10 years for vegetation that have been began from seed to bloom.

Saving your personal seeds from mature vegetation is an choice, but when the vegetation are hybrids the seeds won’t produce true to the mum or dad plant.

When you hand pollinate the flowers, it is best to see seed pods about 5 months later. Every pod will include 60-80 seeds.

When the flower has withered and died again, you may accumulate the pods and minimize them open to take away the seeds inside.

The seeds are black with orange tufts and are the dimensions of candy pea seeds.

A close up horizontal image of a Strelitzia reginae seed pod containing black and orange seeds set on a wooden surface.

Plant the seeds as quickly after harvest as doable, earlier than the seed coat turns into exhausting.

When you can’t sow them instantly, planting inside six months of harvest is beneficial to make sure viability.

If it’s worthwhile to retailer the seeds, place them in a cool, effectively ventilated room till the seeds have fully dried out – usually every week to 10 days – then switch to a paper envelope and retailer in a cool, dry place till you might be able to plant.

If the seed coat is tough, whether or not you’ve saved your personal seeds or bought them, you may lower the germination time by soaking the seeds in lukewarm water for one to 2 days, after which nicking the seed coat with a small file or knife. This course of is called scarification.

Take away the brilliant orange tuft of hairs after you will have soaked the seeds.

Sow the seeds 1/2 to at least one inch deep in a pot or planting tray in a moist seed beginning medium that’s unfastened and clear. Place a plastic bag or humidity dome excessive to take care of a damp atmosphere.

Offering backside warmth of 75-90°F will assist them to germinate, though it’s not vital.

Seeds which have been scarified ought to germinate in a single to 3 months if stored moist.

In line with Sydney Park Brown and Robert J. Black, professors on the Environmental Horticulture Division on the College of Florida IFAS Extension, you could possibly velocity up the germination time by placing the seeds in a plastic bag and refrigerating them at 40-45°F for 2 weeks. Then scarify them.

The seedlings could be transplanted to six-inch pots after they have three to 4 true leaves.

Hold the soil evenly moist however not waterlogged till seedlings are six to eight inches tall earlier than transplanting them into the backyard as described under.

Find out how to Develop

Whereas this plant originates within the subtropical coasts of South Africa, it’s going to develop within the hotter climates of Zones 9-12.

A close up horizontal image of a red Strelitzia reginae flower blooming in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

Birds of paradise ought to be planted in a full solar location, though they will thrive in partial shade in subtropical climates akin to Florida.

The traits of the vegetation will differ relying on the quantity of sunshine they obtain.

Crops grown in full solar are smaller and have shorter flower stems, whereas these grown in partial shade are taller and should have considerably bigger flowers.

A close up horizontal image of a Strelitzia reginae bloom pictured on a soft focus background.

Because the vegetation produce extra flowers across the exterior of the plant, spacing them no less than six toes aside will enable sufficient room for the flowers to develop.

To transplant into the backyard, dig a gap that’s two to 3 occasions the diameter of the basis ball and as deep as the peak of the basis ball. Completely water the plant earlier than gently eradicating it from the container.

Take care to not disturb the roots as these of younger vegetation are simply broken.

Place the plant within the gap, and ensure the highest of the basis ball is even with the floor of the soil. Backfill with soil and water in effectively.

If fowl of paradise is planted too deeply, this will likely delay flowering.

You may create a basin like a saucer across the plant, so it’s going to maintain water till it drains to the roots.

Be sure to water the plant repeatedly throughout the first six months after planting. Water deeply when the floor of the soil feels dry to the contact.

Soil and Local weather Wants

Hen of paradise vegetation are fairly forgiving and can develop in a variety of soil varieties.

Nonetheless, they develop finest in organically-rich, loamy soil that drains effectively with a pH of 5.5-7.5.

A close up vertical image of a clump of Strelitzia reginae growing in the garden with various other tropical specimens in the background.

The vegetation can briefly tolerate temperatures as little as 24°F, though freezing temperatures will harm creating flowers and buds.

When you dwell in an space susceptible to freezes, both cowl your vegetation if a tough freeze is within the forecast, or carry pots inside when the climate will get chilly.

Too study extra, we cowl rising fowl of paradise indoors as a houseplant right here and the right way to overwinter your vegetation right here.

Watering and Mulching

If such a plant receives an excessive amount of or too little moisture, the leaves will flip yellow and ultimately die.

A close up of a clump of Strelitzia reginae growing in the garden with orange and blue flowers pictured on a soft focus background.

Mature vegetation are typically drought tolerant and can should be watered when the highest three inches of the soil is dry. They won’t tolerate moist toes and waterlogged soil may cause root rot.

Through the winter months, if there may be adequate rain, you could not want to supply any further irrigation.

Place a two to three-inch-deep layer of mulch across the base of the plant. This can assist to preserve moisture, cut back weed infestations, and supply micronutrients.

Don’t add mulch too near the stem. Holding a two to three-inch round space round your vegetation freed from mulch will shield towards stem rot.

Natural mulches – akin to wooden chips, bark, pine needles, or leaves – are appropriate, as are crushed stone or gravel in areas the place lighter supplies could blow away.


Whereas these vegetation can dwell within the backyard with out supplemental fertilization, the addition of a balanced fertilizer will produce the perfect progress and flowering.

A close up horizontal image of a blue and orange Strelitzia reginae flower pictured in bright sunshine on a soft focus background.

The very best forms of fertilizer to make use of embody natural ones like well-rotted manure, worm castings, or blood meal, or a managed launch balanced product like Osmocote, accessible by way of Amazon, or granular panorama fertilizers.

Apply in response to bundle directions to a full grown clump each three months throughout the rising season.

In case you are rising your vegetation in containers, you may fertilize them each two weeks with a liquid fertilizer or apply gradual launch pellets each two to 3 months.

Discover extra information on fertilizing right here.

Rising Suggestions

  • Plant in a full solar or half shade location.
  • Present organically-rich, well-draining soil.
  • Water mature vegetation deeply when the soil is dry to a depth of three inches.

Pruning and Upkeep

These vegetation are pretty low upkeep.

An important factor that you will want to do by way of maintenance is to take away the useless leaves and previous flower stalks, in order that fungi don’t construct up in them.

A close up horizontal image of Strelitzia reginae growing in the garden before flowering pictured on a soft focus background.

Spent flower stalks could be minimize off on the base of the plant, as near the soil line as doable. Useless or dying foliage ought to be minimize on the level the leaf meets the stem.

If you don’t prune them off, they are going to stay hooked up to the plant indefinitely.

Within the case of huge clumps, you may skinny out the foliage from the middle of the clump to permit for elevated airflow.

The enormous fowl of paradise, S. nicolai, produces dense offshoots that it is best to skinny often.

Species and Cultivars to Choose

You may normally discover birds of paradise on the market at native backyard facilities and nurseries in areas the place they thrive.

Widespread Hen of Paradise

Identified and beloved by so many all through the world, the orange and blue flowers of S. reginae are a dramatic addition to your panorama.

Hen of Paradise, S. reginae

You will discover one- to two-feet-tall vegetation in a single gallon containers available by way of Amazon.


S. nicolai is widespread in south and central Florida. It is usually referred to as large white fowl of paradise or African wild banana – because of its giant leaves.

This species can develop as much as 20 toes excessive and 5 to 6 toes huge, so don’t mistake it for the widespread fowl of paradise and plant it in entrance of a window!

A close up square image of a white bird of paradise plant in a black pot pictured on a white background.

Big Hen of Paradise, S. nicolai

Crops in 9 1/4-inch pots are accessible from Costa Farms by way of House Depot.

Mandela’s Gold

As you may most likely guess from the identify, ‘Mandela’s Gold’ is a South African cultivar of S. reginae. It was produced by John Winter on the Kirstenbosch Nationwide Botanic Backyard in Cape City and launched in 1994.

A close up horizontal image of the yellow and blue flower of Strelitzia reginae 'Mandela's Gold' growing in the garden pictured in bright sunshine on a soft focus background.

Initially marketed as ‘Kirstenbosch Gold,’ the identify was modified in 1996 to honor Nelson Mandela.

The flowers have vivid yellow petals and a blue tongue. Crops develop to a mature top of 4 to 5 toes tall, with the same unfold.

You may study extra in regards to the several types of fowl of paradise vegetation right here.

Managing Pests and Illness

Hen of paradise vegetation are normally freed from pests and illnesses, however alas, there are exceptions.

Nonetheless, whereas pests and pathogens could assault particular person flowers or leaves, they typically don’t threaten the plant’s total well being.


Bugs are not often an issue, however aphids, scale, snails, grasshoppers, and caterpillars could often graze on the vegetation. You may management them with systemic pesticides or snail bait.

Mealybugs and spider mites can infest the leaves. Simply wipe them off with a gentle fabric. You even have the choice of utilizing natural pesticides like neem oil to deal with an infestation.

A few further species particularly could trigger issues to your vegetation:

Opogona Crown Borers

The larvae of Opogona omoscopa moths bore into the crowns of vegetation, inflicting the foliage to show yellow, wilt, and die. Specialists consider these are secondary pests which might be drawn to decaying tissue.

You may forestall such a infestation by offering good cultural care. Take away useless or dying plant particles that draws the moths and keep away from extreme watering.


Whereas there are a selection of whitefly species that assault vegetation, the enormous whitefly (Aleurodicus dugesii) is a selected pest of fowl of paradise.

Not solely does this pest suck important vitamins out of the plant, it additionally secretes a sugary substance known as honeydew that may draw copious quantities of ants.

Early detection is necessary for the management of this pest. When you catch it early sufficient, you may spray the vegetation with water from the hose to take away the whiteflies.

In case your vegetation have a extreme infestation, take away any contaminated leaves.

Learn extra about controlling whiteflies right here.

Discover extra tips about figuring out and controlling fowl of paradise pests right here.


A number of forms of fungi and a standard bacterial pathogen can often afflict fowl of paradise vegetation.

Armillaria Root Rot

This devastating illness can have an effect on all members of the Strelitzia genus.

Discolored leaves are a symptom of Armillaria. Ultimately, telltale clusters of what are generally known as “honey mushrooms” will develop on the base of the plant.

There isn’t a treatment, and fungal colonies can dwell for hundreds of years. You’ll have to take away your plant if it contracts this illness.

Prevention contains correct drainage, good irrigation, and sufficient care.

Bacterial Wilt

The widespread bacterium Pseudomonas solanacearum can dwell within the soil for greater than six years, and it could infect fowl of paradise vegetation by means of their roots.

It will also be transmitted by contaminated gardening instruments, plant particles, soil, bugs, and water.

Preliminary indicators of an infection embody wilting and yellowing of the leaves. Then, the bottom of the plant will start to show black or brown on the soil line.

In case your plant is infested, it is best to take away and destroy it to stop the illness from spreading.

Fungal Leaf Spot

For a pleasant change of tempo, such a an infection – attributable to a wide range of fungal pathogens – just isn’t normally a major problem for fowl of paradise vegetation.

Leaves which might be contaminated develop black, tan, brown, or yellow spots or patches. They could wither and drop off the plant.

A close up vertical image of a Strelitzia reginae leaf suffering from a fungal disease.
Picture by Helga George.

Most fowl of paradise vegetation can deal with this illness. In truth, the image of this an infection that you just see above depicts an in any other case wholesome plant.

Offering good cultural care and sanitation will normally assist to manage a fungal leaf spot an infection. If vital, you may spray vegetation with neem oil each 10-14 days.

Grey Mould

Also referred to as botrytis blight, grey mildew attributable to Botrytis cinerea can infect an array of vegetation and is effectively referred to as the reason for rot in strawberries.

Contaminated flowers and leaves can have a grey movie over them, which provides illness its widespread identify. Ultimately, the leaves will wilt, decay, and drop from the plant.

Prevention contains eradicating fallen and decaying particles and dying plant tissue. Additionally, keep away from overhead watering.

Fungicides are typically efficient, however this fungus is infamous for creating resistance to them – typically throughout the first season of use.

In some instances, a biofungicide akin to Stop can management this illness. This product comprises a pressure of Bacillus subtilis and is accessible from Arbico Organics.

Spray your vegetation as soon as every week however if in case you have a critical an infection, you may spray each three days.

Root Rot

Hen of paradise seeds can harbor a fungal pathogen that causes root rot, also called damping off.

You may forestall this by soaking seeds at room temperature for twenty-four hours. Drain, then soak the seeds in 135°F water for half-hour.

Allow them to cool and dry, after which plant them in clear soil beginning medium.

Discover extra tips about figuring out and treating fowl of paradise illnesses right here.

Finest Makes use of

You could have most likely seen these flowers in florist outlets.

The vegetation make an exquisite focus in a backyard or a pleasant houseplant in cooler areas, particularly if in case you have a sunroom.

A close up horizontal image of a Strelitzia reginae bloom pictured in bright sunshine on a soft focus background.

As if having a big perennial with gorgeous flowers in your yard was not sufficient, most of these vegetation have some uncommon benefits.

Hen of paradise leaves are evergreen and stay on the plant. This makes them a superb alternative for including decorative curiosity close to swimming swimming pools, the place shedding leaves can create a upkeep downside.

A close up horizontal image of Strelitzia reginae growing in a border in the garden with a light gray wall in the background.

They pair effectively with different evergreen perennials, akin to Agave vilmoriniana, Senecio mandraliscae, and Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ which have related cultural necessities.

A close up horizontal image of a Strelitzia reginae plant in bloom growing in front of a water feature in soft focus in the background.

Additionally they function stunning minimize flowers, and with just a little care and a few recent flower meals can last as long as two weeks in a vase.

Be taught extra about the right way to make your recent flowers last more on this information.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Flowering herbaceous perennial Flower / Foliage Coloration: Orange, blue, and white/graysish-green, yellow/inexperienced
Native to: South Africa Upkeep: Low
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 9-12 Soil Sort: Wealthy loam, chalk, sand
Bloom Time / Season: Almost yr spherical Soil pH: 5.5-7.5
Publicity: Full solar, half shade Soil Drainage: Properly-draining
Spacing: 6 toes Attracts: Birds, hummingbirds
Planting Depth: Depth of the basis ball, 1/2-1 inch (seeds) Companion Planting: Agave vilmoriniana, Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’, Senecio mandraliscae
Peak: 3-30 toes relying on species Makes use of: Border, hedges, minimize flowers, road plantings, round swimming pools
Unfold: 4-6 toes Order: Zingiberale
Time to Maturity: 1-3 years from divisions; 3-10 years from seed Household: Strelitziaceae
Water Wants: Low to reasonable Genus: Strelitzia
Tolerance: Drought (as soon as established) Species: juncea, nicolai, reginae
Widespread Pests: Aphids, caterpillars, glassy-winged sharpshooters, grasshoppers, mealybugs, opogona crown borers, scale, spider mites, whiteflies Widespread Ailments: Armillaria, bacterial wilt, fungal leaf spot, grey mildew, root rot

A Carefree Noble Flower

Maybe you will have purchased a fowl of paradise flower for a liked one, and even your self.

It’s possible you’ll not notice that this gorgeous plant was as soon as an thrilling novelty from a overseas land. Now it’s a low-care fixture in locations with heat climates, akin to southern California and Florida.

A close up horizontal image of a Strelitzia reginae flower growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

The vegetation are standard each for landscaping and rising as houseplants. With correct care, they are going to thrive and produce as much as three dozen flowers a yr.

Who says which you could’t have a regal backyard of your very personal?

Are you rising fowl of paradise vegetation? Inform us about your expertise and share your ideas within the feedback part under.

And for extra info on the right way to develop different distinctive flowering vegetation, take a look at these guides subsequent:

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