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Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae): A Low Maintenance, High Potential Ornamental Plant



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Indian Farmer 7(01):37-43; January-2020
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Bird of Paradise (
Strelitzia reginae
A Low Maintenance, High Potential
Ornamental Plant
Anamika Gurung1* and Rajiv Kumar2*
1Ph.D. Scholar, 2Principal Scientist
*Division of Floriculture and Medicinal Crops, ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research,
Hesaraghatta, Bengaluru 560089
*Corresponding author:
Bird of paradise is one of the most beautiful flowers that can be grown in both full sun or
in partial shade in the regions having moderate climate. Apart from being an important
choice for landscaping, it is also grown as cut flowers as well as an indoor plant suitable
for keeping in a room having good natural lighting. It is quite hardy and less prone to
diseases and pests. Clumps are divided when the plant is mature, only dried leaves and
spent stems are to be removed which makes it a low maintenance, high potential
ornamental plant.
Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is also known as ‘crane flower’. The genus Strelitzia
includes 5 species, belongs to the family Sterlitziaceae and it is native to South Africa.
It has a unique flower that resembles coloured bird in flight which makes is
exceptionally attractive landscape plant. It is an evergreen perennial herbaceous
ornamental plant grown in the moderate sub-tropical climate. Plants are rhizomatous,
usually reaches a height of 1 to 1.5 meters, foliage resembles small banana leaves which
is evergreen, thick with long petioles, stiff, leathery, concave, and oblong, making it a
attractive ornamental plant.
It produces flowers in a horizontal inflorescence emerging from a stout spathe.
The inflorescence is born at the top of a long scapes or pedicels and are remarkably
shaped and coloured, like the crested head of a bird. The flower consists of three
brilliant orange upright sepals and three purplish-blue highly modified petals which
emerge one at a time from the spathe. Two of the petals are joined together in a
structure resembling an arrowhead with the third petal forming a nectary at the base of
the flower. The long extended blue tongue from the stamens is a female part.
Bird of paradise is a low-maintenance plant which is easy to grow and is suitable
for landscaping. It does well in full sun to semi-shade and flower several times in a year.
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It is suitable to grow along the side of water bodies like pond, lilypool, water tank,
swimming pool, etc. as leaves do not fall in the pool water. It gives a highly delightful
effect when grown along the side of a herbaceous border and in front of a shrubbery. It
is also grown as specimen plant because of its unusual shape of the flower.
It is gaining popularity as cut flower because of its brilliant colour, unusual
appearance and long vase life. It is commercially grown for cut flower purpose in
California, Florida, Hawaii, Israel and South Africa for both domestic and international
markets. It is also grown in pots as an indoor plant which can be kept in the room
having good natural lighting.
In India, Bird of Paradise is grown in sub-temperate and sub-tropical regions
such as Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Kalimpong and Darjeeling in West Bengal, Nilgiri
hills and the Western Ghats, Bangalore and adjoining areas in Karnataka etc.
Some of the important species of Strelitzia are described below:
i. Strelitzia augusta (syn. Strelitzia alba)
It is also called as White Bird of Paradise. The inflorescence is composed
of 2 spathes, from the middle of which emerge white flowers. It reaches up to 5
meter tall with long (60-90 cm) and oblong leaves.
ii. Strelitzia caudate
It is commonly known as the Swaziland Strelitzia or African Desert
Banana. It is unbranched and multi-stemmed that reach up to 6 meter tall height.
It can be planted as a focal point in mid-size to large garden.
iii. Strelitzia juncea
It is also called as leafless Bird of Paradise as it lacks leaf blades, leaves
and stems look like reeds. This characteristic makes it easily distinguishable
from common Bird of Paradise. Considerably slower growing than others and
produces orange and blue flowers in winter and early spring.
iv. Strelitzia nicholai
This is known as the Giant Bird of Paradise because it can grow into a tree
with multiple stems; also called as white Bird of Paradise as it bears large flower
predominantly white with dark blue-purple accents. It reaches upto the height of
1.5 cm long, rounded or heart shaped at the base with long (2 cm) leaf stalks.
v. Strelitzia reginae
It is a clump forming perennial of about 1meter wide, stems grow up to
90 cm high, leaf stalk about 45 cm long and leaf blade about the same length. It
produces its stunning flowers most of the year, but blooms most heavily from
winter to spring, bearing flowers of red, yellow, orange and purple. Among the
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varieties, var. ‘Glauca’ has the attractive, glaucous foliage and stems,
var.‘Humilis’, is a dwarf with dense clumps and ovate-oblong leaves while, var.
‘Rutilans’ has purple midrib. Mandela’s Gold is a yellow-flowered cultivar.
Fig.1 Strelitzia reginae
vi. Strelitzia kewensis
This species is a garden hybrid developed from a cross between Strelitzia
augusta and Strelitzia reginae.
Bird of Paradise is mostly pollinated by birds and insects. Fruits are leathery
capsule which contains numerous minute seeds; oily, orange aril. The one of the reasons
for its suitability to grow in the garden is that it produces no airborne pollen, thus
saving people from the pollen allergy.
It is commonly propagated by seeds; separation of offsets and division of clumps.
Usually, plant raised through seeds takes longer period to establish than the
vegetatively propagated plants.
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i. Seed
Seeds must be sown while they are fresh. Soaking of seeds in water and keeping
at room temperature for 3-4 days prior to planting helps in easy germination.
While sowing, potting mixture should be moist and warm and can germinate in a
25-30 days depending upon soil temperature and seed freshness. Plants grown
from seeds may take five to seven years to give economic yield.
ii. Separation of offsets
Bird of paradise suckers freely, if plants are crowded in the garden or pot, it
produces less number of flowers per plant or it will stop flowering. So, offsets
can be separated to make new plants.
iii. Division of clumps
The clump of mature plants that have been previously flowered for at least three
years can be divided in spring prior to new growth. Lift the plant from the
ground or pot and separate the underground rhizomes with a sharp knife
making sure that each section contains a fan with the roots. The divided plants
can be replanted in similar locations, at the same depth as previous plant. Newly
planted plant should be watered thoroughly. Similarly, planting can be done in
individual pot containing fertile and well drained soil.
Fig.2 Division of clumps
Fig.3 Divided clumps
ready for planting
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It performs well in loamy soil rich in organic matters, well drained and slightly acidic.
Bird of paradise can be grown in full sun or semi-shaded light condition. Low light
intensity may cause flower abortion, whereas too much exposure to too much sunlight,
especially summer may scorch the leaves.
The optimum temperature required for the growth and development of Bird of Paradise
at day time is 20-25oC and night temperature should not be less than 10oC. They are
sensitive to cold and need to be sheltered from frost as it can damage flowers and leaves
although for a short period, it can tolerate lower and higher temperature without
affecting the flower quality. A temperature higher than above 27°C tends to promote
leaf production and inhibit flowering.
For commercial cultivation, planting may be done 60 x 60 cm apart with a planting
density of 4 plants/m2.Pits of 90 x 90 x 90 cm are prepared and filled with soil, sand and
farmyard manure at the ratio of 1: 1: 1. Planting should be done either during late
spring or early summer.
Fig.4 Bird of paradise plant in the field Fig.5 Bird of paradise planted in plastic bag
Manure and Fertilizers
Liquid nutrient feeding improves the growth and flowering. To get maximum
production, spraying the plants with solutions containing 6 g superphosphate and 3 g
potassium nitrate/L of water at an interval of 10 days is effective.
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A regular watering schedule during the first growing season should be followed to
establish a deep, extensive root system. Watering is reduced after the plant has
established itself; however, it requires moist conditions throughout its growing season.
Soil should be well drained to avoid root decay as the roots are rhizomatous and fleshy
in nature.
Harvesting and Postharvest Handlings
Flowers are cut when the first floret opens. The storage life of flower can be extended
up to one month by harvesting it in the tight bud stage and keeping in pulsing solutions
containing 10% sucrose, 250ppm citric acid and 150ppm hydroxyquinoline citrate
(HQC) for two days at 220C.
Packaging and storage
After harvesting, each flower of Bird of Paradise is wrapped with polythene sheet or
butter paper. The stems are packed in cardboard box of size 120 x 30 cm and stored at
an 8°C temperature.
Fig.6 Flower of Bird of Paradise wrapped with polythene sheet
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Diseases and Pests
Bird of paradise is less prone to diseases and pest as it is a quite hardy crop. Flower
and bud damage are attributed mainly to Fusarium culmorum, Fusarium avenaceum and
Boyrytis cinera, plants should be sprayed with bavistin to control. Root rot caused by
Fusarium monoliforme, hot water (45-50oC) treatment of seeds for 30 minutes followed
by sterilization of soil by fumigation is effective to control this soil- borne disease.
Dried leaves and stems should be removed by cutting with sharp secateurs, close
to the ground when flowering is over. Galvanized wires or nylon strings supported by
iron poles/bamboo poles are used to avoid lodging of flower stalk. The leaves can be
removed from the strategic position if it obstructs the view of a flower.
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... Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) also known as crane flower is a tropical plant that is popular in many countries as cut flower (USDA, 2003) but in Pakistan it still needs an introduction as a potential cut flower. Bird of paradise is a low-maintenance plant which is easy to grow and is suitable for landscaping (Gurung and Kumar, 2020) in recent years it is gaining popularity as cut flower because of its brilliant color, unusual appearance and long vase life. This plant has a close resemblance with banana plant. ...
Full-text available
Resumen. La mosca blanca, Aleurodicus coccolobae (Quaintance y Baker), es registrada por primera vez en el estado de Nayarit, México, atacando hojas de la planta de ave del paraíso. Esta especie causó daño al succionar la sabia y secretar sustancias azucaradas, promoviendo así la fumagina. La sustancia azucarada da una coloración oscura al follaje, lo que reduce el proceso de fotosíntesis. Tanto la presencia de moscas blancas como de hongos deprecia el valor comercial de los arreglos florales y de la planta ornamental. Abstract. The whitefly, Aleurodicus coccolobae (Quaintance and Baker), was recorded for the first time at Nayarit, Mexico, attacking leaves of the bird of paradise plant. This species damages the plant by sucking leaf sap and producing honeydew, thus promoting sooty mold. The sticky substance gives dark coloration to the foliage, which reduces the photosynthesis process. The presence of whiteflies and fungi depreciates the commercial value of flower arrangements and ornamental plants. La planta ornamental conocida comúnmente como ave de paraíso, Strelitzia reginae Ait. (Strelitziaceae), es una de las flores tropicales populares en muchos países por su belleza exótica, aunado a su color brillante y larga vida en arreglos florales. A pesar de esto en México no existen estadísticas sobre su comercialización (Navarrete et al. 2015, Ramírez et al. 2017), donde se cultivan 200 hectáreas con una producción superior a las 90,000 ton (SIAP 2019). Los organismos plaga son las principales limitantes en su producción. Gurung y Kumar (2020) reportaron a Fusarium culmorum, F. avenaceum, y Botrytis cinerea afectando a flores y brotes, y a F. moniliforme afectando a raíces. En México existe poca información sobre la problemática fitosanitaria que pudieran afectar su producción debido principalmente a la poca superficie establecida. Morales et al. (2019) documentaron la presencia del ácaro fitófago Brevipalpus yothersi en la 1 Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae 2 Strelitzia reginae Aiton. (Strelitziaceae)
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.