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Plants for a Plant Zoo: Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

The unique orange and blue flowers of bird of paradise never fail to catch the eye and add a touch of the exotic to the surroundings. From spring to fall , green, hard, beak-like sheaths, called spathes, appear above the gray-green paddle-shaped clump of leaves perpendicular to the stem The spathes resemble a bird’s head and provides a perch for the birds that fertilize the flowers. The flowers emerge one by one and consist of 3 orange sepals and 3 vivid blue petals, two of which are joined to form an arrow-shaped nectary. When birds come to drink the nectar, the third petal opens to expose the anther and cover their feet with pollen. Birds of paradise are popular garden plants in frost free climates and good house plants in cooler climates where they can grown in containers and moved out doors during the summer. They give a tropical look to a garden and are a good choice for borders, patios, containers, and Mediterranean gardens.

Type: Tender evergreen herbaceous perennial

Size: 4-6′

Bloom Color: Orange and blue

Bloom Time: Spring to fall

SLight: Full sun to light shade

Soil: Fertile, medium moist, well-drained, drought tolerant once established

Hardiness: Zones 10-12