Bird of paradise flowers are native to South Africa. The plant sends up colorful flowers on top of upright, stiff leafstalks that are 6 inches wide and about 18 inches long. The plants form clumps of leathery, evergreen leaves that cover 3 to 5 feet of ground.
The bird of paradise is also known as the crane flower. Its scientific name is Strelitzia reginae.
The bloom is a combination of blue petals with orange sepals surrounded by a beak-shaped bract. The bird of paradise blossoms throughout the year. The flower will last up to two weeks when cut.
Healthy, mature plants produce up to 36 flower spikes in a year. Plants in partially shady locations will produce larger blossoms than ones located in full sun.
Bird of paradise flowers grow mainly along the edge of the leaf cluster. Space plants out by at least 6 feet to leave room for the flower spikes.
A bird of paradise plant that starts as a seed will take three to five years to mature and produce flowers. Plants grown from offsets will mature in one to two years.