Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia species and cultivars
All over the world, the dramatic and colorful bird of pardise flower is symbolic of the tropics, but most residents of Queensland will be familiar with the common Bird of Paradise in growing in local gardens.
However, there are a number of other species and cultivars of this genus to explore.
The common orange bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) has an iconic flower complemented by bold, tropical-looking foliage. It will eventually form a very substantial clump.
All have heavy and vigorous root systems, so take care with placement. S. nicolai can get very tall as well.
S. nicolai is mainly grown for its banana-like foliage. The flower is not as spectacular as the regular bird of paradise.
Bird of Paradise was covered in the 21-07-2021 edition of Get Results Gardening. Lots of other tropical and subtropical plants suitable for Australian residential landscapes are discussed in this weekly email publication. Find out how to get a free trial at calyx.com.au/getresultsgardening.html
Bird of Paradise in the Landscape
These pictures will give you an idea of the size and look of the different types available.
This is the common bird of paradise
No photographs at present, but many available online with a simple search. mentioned here because at least some of the plants sold in Australia labelled S. juncea may actually be S. parvifolia (see below), be cause the leaf blades look too substantial. True S. juncea is a species in which the flat part of the leaf (the leaf blade) is mostly missing, leaving only green pointy stalks.
This is a very unusual type of Strelitzia. The leaf blades are much reduced compared to the common S. reginae, but are too big to be S. juncea. This is likely the type known as Strelitzia parvifolia or Strelitzia reginae subsp. parvifolia. Its botanical origins are a bit mysterious. It might be a variant of S. reginae or a hybrid between it and S. juncea. If you're looking to buy the genuine S. juncea, be careful that you aren't getting parvifolia instead.
This plant is probably Strelitzia parvifolia
Giant bird of paradise, white bird of paradise. White and blue flowers aren't spectacular. Mainly grown for the foliage. Could be confused with the travellers palm (Ravenala madagascariensis). Popular during the Balinese garden craze for too big for most gardens.