The Bird of Paradise is a plant that produces a beautiful flower that at first glance looks like a bird in flight. According to the Clemson Cooperative Extension, it is native to South Africa. Once classified as a banana plant, it now has its own classification--Strelitziaceae.
The Bird of Paradise grows into a plant that is about 5 feet in height. It is trunkless and grows in a clump. The leaves are concave in shape and thick. The leaves grow between 6 and 18 inches long. They are attached to a stalk, which gives the plant its height.
The flower is attached to the same stalk as the leaves. Leaves grow from the end of the stalk that look like canoes. These 4- to 8-inch long modified leaves produce the flower. The blossoms open into a flower orange in color. Inside is a blue petal that looks like a tongue. The flowers open in late winter or early spring, one to three on each stalk.
According to the University of Florida Extension, the Bird of Paradise prefers a fertile soil but will grow in many conditions. The Bird of Paradise prefers full sun but will grow in low light conditions. The plant requires 65 to 70 degrees during the day and 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Humidity must be moderate, with a light misting during the winter months when the air is dry. The plant requires an indoor environment when temperatures drop below 60 degrees.
A hole to plant the Bird of Paradise is best dug two to three times the size of the root ball. The holes must be as deep as the root ball is tall. The plant requires a good watering in its container before planting in the ground. The backfill soil also requires watering during planting to remove large air pockets.
Soil should be moist after planting but not soggy. Dry soil will cause wilting and yellowing of the plant leaves. During winter, the plant requires watering once the soil is slightly dry. Mulch placed two to three inches from the base of the plant keeps the soil moist. The plant requires fertilization every three months with organic material, a water soluble fertilizer or controlled release fertilizer.