Add tropical flair to your backyard with the bird-of-paradise shrub (Strelitzia reginae). Originally from South Africa, the 5-foot-tall shrub produces bright orange blossoms with that look like a bird's head, hence its name. The shrub thrives in USDA hardiness zones 9A through 11 and is relatively low maintenance. Regular feeding will help provide the plant the nutrients it needs to produce many colorful flowers.
Start fertilizing in the spring when the plant begins producing new growth. Use any standard fertilizer labeled for use with ornamental shrubs, administering as directed by the fertilizer's label since potency varies by product.
Water the bird-of-paradise immediately after fertilizing, moistening the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This helps carry the fertilizer's nutrients down to the plant's root level where it can immediately begin feeding the plant.
Pile 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the bird-of-paradise shrub, leaving a 2 to 3 inch circular area around the stems clear of mulch to avoid the possibility of stem rot. Examples of suitable mulching material include aged compost and shredded leaves. Mulching helps to retain soil moisture to keep the shrub hydrated, and also delivers micronutrients to the plant's roots, according to the University of Hawaii.
Continue fertilizing the plant every three months during the growing season.