The bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is an exotic-looking flower that is native to South Africa and grows to a height of 5 feet with a spread of 3 feet. The plant is hardy in USDA growing zones 9 and 10 and will not grow in temperatures that drop below 28 degrees F. Bird of Paradise flowers will appear once the plant reaches the age of 4 to 7 years and is cared for properly during this growing period.
Select a planting location for the bird of paradise that offers a fertile, well-draining soil and partial shade. The plant will grow in full sunlight; however, flower production increases when the plant is given partial shade.
Plant the bird of paradise in a hole that is two to three times as wide and the same depth as the container it came in. Amend the removed soil with organic compost to increase the nutrient value. Set the plant into the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is at ground level. Planting the bird of paradise too deep will cause a delay in flower production.
Space the bird of paradise plants so they are 6 feet apart. Crowded plants will produce fewer flowers since the majority of the blooms grow on the outside areas of the plant.
Water the bird of paradise to keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season. Do not over-water to make the soil soggy or allow the soil to dry out as this will inhibit flower production. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over the root ball to assist with moisture retention. Leave a 2- to 3-inch gap between the start of the mulch and stem of the plant.
Fertilize the bird of paradise plant with a controlled-release balanced fertilizer every three months during the growing season. Organic fertilizers such as blood meal or composted manure can be used instead of chemical fertilizers by applying every two weeks. Fertilizers provide nutrients to the plants to keep them healthy and promote flower production.
Remove dead leaves and flower stems as soon as they occur to reduce the chance of fungal growth and infections in the plant.