February 22nd, 2022
Bird of Paradise
Hey Plant Friends!
This week we are talking about Strelitzia, commonly known as the Bird of Paradise. This incredibly popular tropical plant belongs to the Strelitziaceae family, which is relatively small, and is native to South Africa. Named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the queen consort of King George III of England, and an amateur botanist, this plant has been popular since the 18th century. Strelitzia reginae (of the queen) is known for its vibrant blooms which resemble the head and beak of a colorful tropical bird. However a blooming Bird of Paradise is not all that realistic in northern homes. That’s why Strelitzia nicolai, or White Bird of Paradise is commonly offered as an indoor plant. This variety has larger, and broader leaves with insignificant blooms.
Let’s talk about care. This tropical plant is going to want bright light which does include some direct light throughout the day. However, in the summer it will need some coverage from the hot sun especially if grown outdoors. Place in a bright window with a huge view of the sky for best results. Plant your Bird of Paradise in a well-draining soil like the Espoma's Organic Potting Mix or our house blend Tonka Terra with added Perlite. Make sure that your pot has adequate drainage, and never let your bird sit in standing water. When watering, allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry before giving it a good drink. Increase watering during active growth and leaf expansion. Your bird will be in paradise should it have a chance to grow outside on the patio this summer. They live for those hot humid days. A pest to look out for when caring for this plant is mealy bugs. They love to hide in the stalks of the plant and on the undersides of the leaves. Scout for pests every time you water and keep Bonide's Insecticidal Super Soapon hand to treat as needed.