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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Orange bird of paradise hails from South Africa

By Staff | Jan 20, 2016

The Bird of Paradise blooms throughout the year. PHOTO BY ANITA FORCE MARSHALL

Plant Subject: Orange Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

First impression: Exotic egret head in profile shaped flower of vibrant orange, purple, and red. This blossom is large measuring 4-5 inches tall and long. Its long stemmed dark green leaves resemble the shape of banana plants. What a show stopper, any ornithologist would take a second look! You can see this non-winged wonder in bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Orange Bird of Paradise is a perennial herb that hails from South Africa. Here in Southwest Florida we grow it for its quintessential tropical flowers. Blooming, this tropical plant is a must for cut gardens, with flowers blooming throughout the year.

True to their name, they are an explosion of feather shaped color. The petals of dark blue; sepals of bright orange, and all emerging from a vivid canoe shaped holder at the end of the stem. All over the world, florist love to utilize our star for really beautiful arrangements.

In the garden our plant is a naturally shaped shrub with banana shaped leaves and lovely birds peeking through. The most common question I receive about our star is why isn’t mine blooming? Here are some considerations: at least 4 plus hours of sunlight with regular watering, doesn’t like continual wet feet, and it takes around five years for a plant to mature and bloom. After blooming remember to clean out the old blossoms, which will start to smell if left unattended. Maximum height for this slow grower is 5-6 feet tall, which makes it perfect for patios with a view. You may plant in full sun or filtered shade, and well-drained soil.

Interesting Trivia: Did you know, we have several species of bird of paradise? Our orange star is the most popular garden addition. White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai), is a replica that is three times the size with larger white bird blooms. Travelers Tree (Ravenala madagascariensis), can reach 30 feet and resembles banana leaves in a symmetrical fan with gynormous bird blossoms.


Great low growing shrub

Likes full sun

Can be divided and share with neighbors

Non invasive

May have bird watcher in your garden

Salt tolerance

Get rich selling blooms


Needs to be separated periodically

Remember to trim away spent blooms

Needs to be watered regularly

Annoying when they don’t bloom

Non native

Conclusion: Bring out those binoculars-there are birds blooming in the bushes. No need to worry, they won’t fly away in our tropical eye catching garden.Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!