Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae), a tropical evergreen perennial native to South Africa, derives its name from its large, colorful flowers that resemble a bird in flight. Blooms appear in late winter and early spring, opening successively until summer. Each flower consists of brilliant orange, pointed petals with bright blue, arrow-shaped tongues. The plant cannot tolerate cold temperatures and grows as a houseplant throughout most of the United States. Reaching a height and width of around 5 feet, bird of paradise provides a spectacular tropical display when grown in a container and requires only minimal care to thrive.
Plant the bird of paradise flower in a container at least 6 inches in diameter. Fill the container with a growing medium made of one part peat moss, one part perlite and one part potting soil to provide necessary drainage and fertility for growth.
Keep the plant in a location that receives direct sunlight, such as a south-facing window, to help the plant bloom. Maintain a consistent temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 to 55 degrees F at night.
Fill a shallow tray with small pebbles, then fill halfway with water. Do not completely submerge the pebbles. Keep the plant's container on top of the pebbles to increase the relative humidity of the environment. Replenish the water as often as necessary.
Water your bird of paradise flower once per week during spring and summer, and once every two weeks during fall and winter. Soak the soil in the container until water begins to exit the holes on the bottom, and then drain away all excess water.
Feed the plant once every two weeks during spring and once each week during summer using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer at half the strength recommended by the manufacturer. Water lightly after applying to dissolve the nutrients.
Repot the bird of paradise flower once every three to four years, or whenever it appears crowded in its current container. Increase the size of the new container by 2 to 3 inches and use a fresh, moist growing medium.