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Strelitizia reginae Bird of Paradise

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


Bird of paradise is grown as much for its handsome, blue-green tropical foliage as for the distinctive flowers that appear periodically throughout the year. This slow-growing, clumping perennial resembles the related heliconia in vegetative appearance. Although best growth and flower production occurs in California and Hawaii, enough flowers develop under Florida landscape conditions to warrant planting. Flowers are produced on a stiff stem that rises above the foliage and are contained in orange and blue, boat-shaped bracts to produce a lovely effect in any landscape.

Full Form - Strelitizia reginae: bird of paradise.
Figure 1. Full Form - Strelitizia reginae: Bird of paradise.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


Full Form - Strelitizia reginae: bird of paradise.
Figure 2. Leaf - Strelitizia reginae: bird of paradise.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


Full Form - Strelitizia reginae: bird of paradise.
Figure 3. Flower - Strelitizia reginae: Bird of paradise.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Strelitzia reginae

Pronunciation: strell-LITZ-zee-uh ree-JIN-nee

Common name(s): bird of paradise

Family: Strelitziaceae

Plant type: herbaceous

USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Figure 4)

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year-round

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: mass planting; specimen; container or above-ground planter; accent

Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 4. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 3 to 5 feet

Spread: 2 to 4 feet

Plant habit: upright

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: slow

Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: most emerge from the soil, usually without a stem

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: undulate

Leaf shape: oblong

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: 12 to 18 inches

Leaf color: blue or blue-green

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: orange-blue

Flower characteristic: spring flowering; summer flowering


Fruit shape: irregular

Fruit length: less than 0.5 inch

Fruit cover: dry or hard

Fruit color: orange

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems

Current year stem/twig color: not applicable

Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: occasionally wet; clay; sand; acidic; loam; slightly alkaline

Drought tolerance: high

Soil salt tolerances: poor

Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches


Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more

Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

One full-grown specimen makes a dramatic landscape accent, with plants spreading as wide as they are tall. Mass plantings on 3- to 5-foot centers are effective in large gardens. Locate plants in a low-growing ground cover or in front of a shrub border to contrast the blue-green foliage with the green of other shrubs.

Developing into large clumps, bird of paradise needs full sun or high, shifting shade and rich, moisture-retentive soil. Plants should be fertilized regularly during the growing season.

Propagation is by seed or division, although plants seem to flower more freely under crowded conditions and are best left undisturbed. Many nursery operators report that the seeds are difficult to germinate.

Pests and Diseases

Scale is the main pest problem, though grasshoppers may occasionally ruin the foliage.


Publication #FPS-563

Release Date:January 23, 2024

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About this Publication

This document is FPS-563, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman
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