Bird of Paradise Flower – Symbolism, Structure & Care (Revised (current-year))

The Bird of Paradise flower stays genuine to the name by resembling the wings of a bird in flight when open. However, the plant, overall, is a late bloomer!

Generally, the Bird of Paradise flower blooms from fall until late spring, prevailing for 3-4 weeks. But, the plant must reach 3-5 years old to adorn the first of its many flowers. Similarly, these symbolically meaningful but structurally complex blossoms are showy with copious amounts of nectar to attract pollinators.

Continue reading this article to learn how to make heavenly Bird of Paradise flowers with simple care routines.

What Does Bird of Paradise Flower Mean?

The genus Strelitzia was named after the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen Charlotte.

The plant is indigenous to the subtropical biomes of South Africa (Cape Province).

Commonly, the Bird of Paradise is also called the ‘Crane Flower’ due to the layout of the bloom portraying a Crane’s head.

But the name ‘Bird of Paradise’ came because the flowers appear like a bird taking flight with its relaxed and vivid petals and sepals representing the ‘wings.’

Also, the Bird of Paradise flower symbolism corresponds with retaining a good perspective on life.

The tropical nature of the Bird of Paradise flower represents a spiritual meaning of freedom, paradise, and joy due to the stance of the open bloom.

In Hawaii, the Bird of Paradise’s name means “Little Globe,” representing magnificence.

Often, people link the Bird of Paradise flower bouquet with a 9th-anniversary gift as a gesture of lifelong commitment and a blissful marital journey.

Along with that, the Bird of Paradise cut flowers also fit indoors with a long vase life (up to 1-2 weeks).

Moreover, people also draw the Bird of Paradise flower tattoo or sketch as a symbol of determination, power, triumph, and devotion.

However, variations in the flower colors hold their peculiar meaning and prospect. 

Flower Colors Meaning
White Purity & Spiritual Enlightenment
Yellow Good Fortune, Joy, Happiness, & Optimism
Orange Happiness, Boldness, & Health
Blue Respect & Trust
Green Rejuvenation & Nature

Does Bird of Paradise Flower?

A mature Bird of Paradise plant blooms annually in late winter until spring. But the plant starts to produce buds during the fall.

Since the Bird of Paradise is an evergreen perennial plant, the flowering takes place yearly, and a single plant can produce 36 flowering spikes each season. 

But a single flower lasts 3-4 weeks before withering away from the plant to be replaced by fuzzy and black seeds

However, the plant takes at least 3-7 years to reach flowering maturity.

Besides, to make a Bird of Paradise plant flower, you must fulfill these specific conditions and wait for the plant to mature.

  • Sustain a conducive temperature of around 65-70°F during the day and 50°F at night.
  • Regularly offer 6-8 hours of bright and direct sunlight by situating the plant near a south-facing window. 
  • Refrain from periodic repotting routines to stress the root ball, which induces flowering. 
Image represents a blooming Bird of Paradise flower
Bird of Paradise flowers can last up to 3-4 weeks.
  • Water the plant every 1-2 weeks during spring, summer, and fall.
  • Provide balanced 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks or only twice during the growing season.
  • Apply bloom booster every week for 3 weeks during spring, summer, and fall while forgoing fertilizer use in the 4th week.

Bird of Paradise Flower (Arrangement & Overview)

Strelitzia, or Bird of Paradise, comprises 18 species, all native to the subtropical region of Cape Province in South Africa.

An individual bloom sits atop a bloom or flowering spike or stalk arising from the plant’s base intermingling with the leaves.

A green purplish to reddish canoe-like ‘spathe’ runs perpendicularly, terminating the tip of the bloom stalk.

Image illustrates Bird of Paradise flower
The sepals and the petals of Bird of Paradise sit on the top of a boat-like spathe.

The spathe holds 3 flashy and vividly colorful sepals and petals, respectively.

The sepals differ from having bright red, yellow, orange, greenish-white, white, or orange-red shades, while the petals normally retain black, purplish, or bluish-violet tones.

Let’s look at the basic overview of the Bird of Paradise flower.

Feature(s) Description(s)
Inflorescence Structure: Leafy & Pointy Spathe with Sepals & Petals

Size: About 20 centimeters long & wide

Fragrance Herbal & Grassy
Toxicity Poisonous to Humans & Pets
Lifespan About 3-4 weeks
Fruits Pale Brown Capsules or Pods
Fruit & Seed Harvest 4 months after flowering & pollination
Seeds Oval or Spherical & Dark Brown or Black with Orange Fuzzy Hairs or Bristles Fuzz
Blooming Season Late Winter Until Spring

The name and color of the flower of a few Bird of Paradise species are mentioned below.

  • Strelizia alba – White flowers
  • Strelizia juncea – Yellow & Blue flowers
  • Strelizia nicolai – White & Dark Blue-Gray flowers
  • Strelizia caudata – Black & White flowers
  • Strelizia reginae – Orange flowers

How to Pollinate Bird of Paradise Flowers?

The Bird of Paradise flower is bisexual, with both male and female reproductive parts.

But, the flowers are protandric as the male part, or the anther, matures first, making the plant incapable of self-pollination and requiring agitation.

Hence, the plant pollinates naturally by vectors or by human intervention.

1. Natural Pollination

Birds, such as Sunbirds, naturally pollinate the Bird of Paradise. However, the Cape Weaver (Ploceus capensis) is the primary pollinator.

The radiant and flamboyant flower oozes sweet nectar as a food trap for birds and some insects like bees and butterflies.

When insects or birds visit the flower, the pollination process may follow these steps.

  • The bird or insect lands on the smaller lower petal, exposing pollen-ridden anthers.
  • As the pollinator tries to feast on the nectar, the pollen from the anther brushes with its leg.
  • Then, the pollinator will transfer the pollens to the stigma of another flower.
Image represents a bee pollinating the Bird of Paradise flower
Not only birds but bees also help pollinate the Bird of Paradise flowers.

It would be best to plant your Bird of Paradise outside to have maximum chances of natural pollinating.

2. Hand Pollination

The best time to carry on the pollination is early morning when the flower is full of pollen.

To pollinate your Bird of Paradise by hand, follow the steps below.

  • First, touch the stamen/ anther and see if the pollen sticks to your fingers. If it does, the flower is ready for pollination.
  • Open the Bird of Paradise flower by making your way along the petals and stamens.
  • Then, get a fine brush, gather the pollen from the anther/ stamen, and brush it on the stigma of another bloom. 
  • Keep doing the above process daily until you notice the ovule growth. A seedpod will form after 4 months.

What Should You Do With Bird of Paradise Flowers?

Unfortunately, these short-lived flowers must be trimmed once they fade and turn brown.

Deadheading the 2-3 spent blooms promotes vigorous blooms while retaining the appeal of the remaining flowers.

So, the best time to deadhead Bird of Paradise flowers is early morning by following the steps below.

  • Cut the flower using sterilized scissors from the stalk close to the base of the plant.
  • You can use your hands and ultimately break the flower off the plant.
  • Don’t harm any healthy foliage, and burn the cut parts to prevent any disease or pest extent.
Image illustrates steps to make a Crane Flower gifting vase.
With a little effort, you have your beautiful gift vase ready.

Toxicity of Bird of Paradise Flower

According to ASPCA, the Bird of Paradise flower is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses as it contains gastrointestinal irritants (hydrocyanic acid).

The fruits and seeds have toxic tannins, which cause nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness in pets.

If you ingest a large amount, you may exhibit symptoms of abdominal discomfort followed by puking and diarrhea.

In case of any mishaps, it is recommended to contact a vet nearby or the hotlines below.

Learn how to care for your Bird of Paradise plant from the video below. 

From Editorial Team

Conclusion!

Help your Bird of Paradise to bloom with correct lighting, watering supervision, and well-timed fertilizer application. 

Moreover, patience and optimum care would reward you with exotic Crane flowers.




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