Birds of Paradise Flock Together

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They say that “birds of a feather flock together.” This is true of the flowering plant, Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae), too! A plant that grows easily in California (paradise) is known for its bird-like appearance. This picture was taken last night (New Year’s Eve) as the sun went down over Alamitos Bay in Los Angeles County.

  • Sunlight – Growing in a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight each day, but thriving in bright sunlight all day long, this plant that loves California climate prefers daytime temperatures of 68-72 and night temperatures of 50- 55, but you’ll find it in many gardens and places where the temps vary quite a bit more than that optimal range.
  • Roots – The bird of paradise is an odd “duck”, flowering more readily when slightly root-bound.
  • Hearty – The plants are so hearty, they take off in our Southern California climate, and I’ve sometimes had to get a knife or other cutting tool to cut the offshoots apart from the main plant, maintaining the roots of the 2nd portion, then planting and packing it tightly in the ground (or pot). When you separate the plant into several parts, you are not supposed to water the plants for 2-3 days to give the cuts a chance to ‘callous’ over before resuming moderate watering.
  • Blossoms – With a little all purpose fertilizer added, you’ll likely see blossoms within a year on an off-shoot plant.
  • Seeds – You can grow the Bird of Paradise from seed, but the potted plants are so affordable that it’s easy and cheap enough to pick up one or two at Home Depot or garden shops and have an instant “bird” in your yard. Otherwise, you can wait up to 7 or 8 years before you see your first bloom in a seed-grown plant.

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