Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae), also called crane flower, due to the plant’s flowers looking bird-like, is an herbaceous, tropical perennial. It is well adapted to growing outdoors throughout the frost-free regions of USDA planting zones 9 through 11. It is an attractive, clumping plant with dramatic blooms flowering throughout the year held on long spikes in mixed colors of orange, blue and white. Growing bird of paradise plants in their preferred conditions promotes healthy, blooming plants. Plants that are healthy and established produce approximately three dozen or more flowers annually, according to the University of Florida.
Grow the bird of paradise in full sun for the maximum number of blooms. The plants tolerate growing in partial shade to shade but flowering will be less prolific, though the blooms larger than those grown in the sun, according to the University of Florida.
Plant the bird of paradise in well-draining, fertile, acidic soil for best growth and bloom production. Amend the planting site with manure and a time-release fertilizer, giving the plant additional nutrients to help in its growth and promoting blooms. Work the materials into the soil to a depth of approximately 8 inches.
Space multiple bird of paradise plants approximately 6 feet apart to cut down on crowding. The plants have a tendency to produce most of their blooms around their outsides and overcrowding decreases the number of blooms the plant will produce.
Water the plant regularly, keeping the soil moist during its growing season of spring throughout summer. In winter, water the plant only when the soil is dry, as the weather has a tendency to be moister. Bird of paradise plants grow and bloom best with regular watering.
Fertilize the bird of paradise every three months with manure or a granular fertilizer spread around the plant, to promote healthy growth and blooming. In addition, spray the plant’s foliage every two weeks with a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. Bird of paradise is a heavy feeder, and healthy plants produce the most and best blooms.