It’s not hard to guess how the bird of paradise plant, or crane plant, Strelitzia reginae, got its name. From a distance, its colourful electric blue and neon orange flower really does look like the head of an exotic bird. Bird of paradise plant grows wild in South Africa, and is pollinated by birds, too, hence the sturdy leaf stems that can bear the weight of several birds at a time.
The bird of paradise plant is a great choice for bringing a touch of the exotic to a bright, sunny room. Even when not in flower, it’s a striking house plant with large, blue-grey, paddle-like leaves on elegant stems. It can reach 2m tall, so the plant needs plenty of space. It’s a good choice for a warm conservatory or a bright bathroom, as it needs a humid atmosphere.
In summer, you could put your bird of paradise plant outside, where it will look great as part of an exotic planting scheme in a border. Just plunge it, pot and all, into the soil, in a sunny spot. Move it back indoors before temperatures begin to fall in early autumn.
Bird of paradise plant is not hard to grow but it does need specific conditions – warmth, bright light and a humid atmosphere. A south facing room, bathroom or conservatory is ideal. It also needs plenty of room, as the leaves can reach 2m tall. To keep the atmosphere humid, place the pot on a tray of pebbles and water, or mist frequently. Give it as much light as possible. Keep the compost moist in spring and summer but allow it to dry out between waterings in autumn and winter. Wipe the leaves occasionally to keep them dust-free. Repot when roots are visible at the top of the compost.