Notes by Jesse Durko
Stelitizia regina, commonly called Bird of Paradise, produces one of nature's most dramatic and exotic looking flowers.
They are easy to cultivate in tropical or subtropical climates and make good container subjects elsewhere. They seem to tolerate most every condition except overly wet, but when it comes to dry they are one of the best, capable of surviving prolonged drought.
I'm not saying that giving them a drink after three or four weeks without rain wouldn't help, but they truly can go a full year in Florida without additional water and still preform well.
Bird of Paradise are salt tolerate and like well drained soils, even sandy, rocky or alkaline soils. Plant them in sunny areas for best flowering, or move potted plants into the sun after frost.
I like to use a gravel mulch but if you are using an organic mulch, keep it away from the crowns as this could cause rot.
Bird of Paradise can be grown under regular garden conditions, though they only need a watering every week or two. If your plants are small or if they struggling to grow, use a high nitrogen fertilizer on them. I use palm food either once or twice a year in the fall and or early spring. In addition to their being excellent exotic garden specimens Birds of Paradise make good long lasting cut flowers along with the handsome gray green foliage, for floral arrangements. Once plants become large they can be prolific bloomers.
All images and text © Jesse Durko 2011