when do bird of paradise bloom in florida

Nothing says South Florida living like orange bird of paradise, a natures work of art with exquisite flowers shaped like a bird in flight – or a crested birds head on long stems resembling the graceful neck of a crane.

If ever a single plant could symbolize our exotic, sub-tropical locale, it would be this one.

Thats why weve chosen it as the featured plant in our header here at South-Florida-Plant-Guide.com. Orange bird of paradise grows in a clumping form with thick, gray-green leaves on graceful, upright stems.

This showy plant should be used as a focal point in the landscape, where it can show off its unusual form and beauty.

Its overall mature height fits any size yard (the white bird of paradise is much larger, growing to 25 feet) and the flowers appear on and off all year, more during warm months.

Orange bird of paradise will grow in full sun but seems happiest in part sun or part shade.

The plants do best in Zone 10, but can be container-grown in Zone 9B and moved indoors when cold snaps hit.

Theyre slow growers to about 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, and are considered deer-resistant (though we make no promises).

If yours has been in the ground awhile and seems reluctant to blossom, start a regimen of fertilization.

Apply liquid fertilizer once a week for 3 weeks. Skip a week and then continue fertilizing for another 3 weeks. (Always give the plant a good drink at least an hour before applying liquid fertilizer.)

Once consistent blooming begins, let the plant go extra dry between waterings and it will flower more.

These plants are drought-tolerant, but do best with regular irrigation and enough time between waterings for it to dry out.

Never place a bird of paradise in an area that doesnt drain well, and for shadier locations that hold moisture longer, check the soil before watering to get your irrigation timed just right.

Orange birds are heavy feeders, so begin fertilizing a month after planting. Apply a good granular fertilizer in spring, summer and autumn, supplemented with bone meal and liquid fertilizer for best results.

Avoid mulching right up to the plant (this goes for any plant, for that matter) to avoid stem rot.

Place these plants at least 3 feet apart – give it enough room to fan out as it matures.

The flowers tend to appear more on outer stems, so dont overcrowd it with other shrubs.

White Bird of Paradise

A larger and even more striking relative is the giant bird of paradise, also known as the white bird of paradise (Strelitzia nicolai). The foliage can tear in the wind and resembles banana leaves. They grow in tall, clumping stalks that look quite exotic. Plants can grow up to twenty to thirty feet tall and ten feet wide. As the plant grows, older leaves will fall off, exposing the lower stalks. The white flowers have a blue tongue and are found inside the canopy.

White bird of paradise is sensitive to cold and grows in zones 9B through 11. Planting it should only be done if you have enough room for its enormous mature size. It likes a spot with moist, well-drained soil that is in full sun to light shade. If desired, trim any dead leaves and extra growth near the base of the stalk. Propagation is easiest by division.

If the appearance of white bird of paradise appeals to you but your space isn’t large enough, you might want to plant traveler’s tree (Ravenala madagascariensis) instead for a similar effect. Unlike white bird of paradise, this tree-like plant doesn’t grow in clumps; instead, it can reach heights of up to 30 feet.

To learn more about bird of paradise and other landscape plants, contact your county Extension office.

Landscape uses for orange bird of paradise

  • accent plant
  • single yard specimen
  • anchor for a garden bed

A. K. A. (sometimes called): Crane Flower
COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Match with low growers that will not overshadow the orange bird. Consider juniper, Asiatic jasmine (jasmine minima), bromeliads, peperomia, mondo grass, dwarf clusia, and carissa depending on the location’s sunlight.

Other plants you might like: Heliconia, Crinum Lily

Are you a Snowbird?

To make it easier for you to see how different plants blend together, we’ve organized plants into groups.

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What month does Bird of Paradise bloom?

Blooming season: The flowers are produced in succession, typically from late fall to late spring, depending on the species, latitude, and climate. In the right conditions, they can bloom year-round. A healthy, mature Bird of Paradise plant can produce up to 36 flower spikes per year.

Why is my bird of paradise plant not blooming?

The most common causes of a bird-of-paradise plant not flowering are too much shade and improper watering. It’s also important to remember that if you have a seedling or relatively young bird-of-paradise, it won’t flower until it reaches maturity at five or six years old on average.

Can Bird of Paradise take full sun in Florida?

Bird-of-paradise grows in most soils, but does best in fertile, organic soils with good drainage. It is considered to be a slow-growing plant. For good flower production, place plants in sunny or partially shaded locations. Plants grown in partial shade will be taller and have somewhat larger flowers.