Bird of Paradise, Crane Flower
An iconic plant with a striking architectural form and extraordinary flowers, Strelitzia reginae, or the ‘Bird of Paradise’, is a banana-like evergreen perennial that is perfect as a statement plant for sunny interiors.
Large green paddle shaped leaves, which resemble the leaves of some banana plants, give it a distinct and impactful sculptural form which maintains the plants allure year round, whether the flowers are in bloom or not.
There are only 5 species in the genus Strelitzia, and all of them are from South Africa. Strelitzia reginae in particular is also known as the ‘Crane Flower’, because of how its distinctive and beloved orange and blue flowers resemble the head and beak of a crane.
The Bird of Paradise Flower
Strelitzia reginae and Strelitzia nicolai are both indigenous to South Africa, where they are pollinated by birds; a process made possible by the shape and features of their iconic flowers.
The colour of the flower attracts birds looking for nectar, whilst the shape of the flower makes sure they can only reach it from a particular spot – the fused blue petals. When sunbirds perch upon it to drink the nectar the petals open, covering their feet with pollen which the bird will take with it to the next plant.
Strelizia reginae flowers indoors in the UK more readily than nicolai, though it is still not easy. They both need to reach maturity before they can flower, which takes several years if grown from seed (often 6-8 years). If you’re hoping for it to flower soon, we recommend buying the most mature plant you can afford.
Care & Size Guidance
Birds of Paradise are a brilliant choice for bright rooms, as they require a large amount of bright, indirect sunlight and warmth. That said, too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, and they prefer cooler temperatures at night.
Strelitzia reginae can grow to a large size for an indoor plant, but they are smaller than Strelitzia nicolai, making for a more suitable choice for many homes. Indoors in the UK their eventual height can be up to about 1.5 metres tall.
To prevent yours from growing so tall, they can stay root bound happily in the same size pot for many years.