In case you are searching for a plant with giant, show-stopping blooms, look no additional than the chicken of paradise.
With its orange, blue, and white flowers that appear like a chicken in flight, this plant simply can’t be ignored.
And this South African native will develop fortunately year-round all through hotter components of the US.
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Able to get began? I’ll clarify the whole lot it’s essential to know to develop vigorous chicken of paradise vegetation in your personal backyard in Zones 9-12.
Right here’s what’s forward:
What Is Fowl of Paradise?
This herbaceous perennial is uncommon in northern climates, however prevalent in gardens and on roadsides in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-12 and typically in hotter areas of Zone 9 as effectively.
Named for its beautiful flowers, the plant grows slowly in clumps as its underground stem divides, whereas the foliage grows in a fan-like sample and resembles banana leaves.
Flowers are produced in teams of 1 to a few on lengthy stalks.
Fowl of paradise vegetation are also referred to as crane flowers, a extra exact description of the form of their blooms.
Orange sepals and blue petals emerge from a modified leaf generally known as a bract. Two of the blue petals be a part of collectively to type a nectary – an organ that secretes nectar.
The vegetation bloom on and off 12 months spherical in appropriate climates.
Mature, wholesome vegetation can produce as much as 36 flower spikes a 12 months, which can final for weeks.
Native to southern Africa, there are 5 species within the Strelizia genus. The commonest species grown within the US are S. reginae, S. nicolai, and S. alba.
If you happen to stay within the southwestern US, it’s possible you’ll be accustomed to different vegetation recognized by the identical widespread identify.
The birds of paradise that develop so effectively on this area are a wholly completely different species within the legume household, Caesalpinia.
The three mostly seen are the pink C. pulcherrima, yellow C. gilliesii (reclassified as Poinciana gilliesii), and the Mexican chicken of paradise, C. mexicana.
Cultivation and Historical past
As soon as thought of a part of the banana household, these vegetation have escaped this lowly destiny and now have their very own household – the Strelitziaceae.
Fowl of paradise flowers are so storied that they have been a recipient of the Award of Backyard Benefit from the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society in 1993.
They’re pleasant as minimize flowers and are bought by the million for use in floral preparations.
These vegetation are low upkeep which makes them beneficial for city landscaping. They’re generally seen rising in site visitors islands and in gardens in house complexes in California.
Even higher is their tendency to remain put. In contrast to tree roots that may finally elevate sidewalks, chicken of paradise roots don’t thicken because the vegetation age.
Fowl of paradise vegetation have been launched to Europe in 1773 when Francis Masson, plant collector, introduced specimens from the jap Cape area of South Africa to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.
The genus Strelitzia was named for Queen Charlotte Sophie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the spouse of the reigning monarch on the time, King George III.
Even the scientific identify of the widespread chicken of paradise, S. reginae, is regal, with the Latin phrase reginae translating to queen in English.
Fowl of paradise vegetation have been launched into California in 1853 by Colonel Warren, editor of the California Farmer journal, and have been accessible on the market in Montecito, a rich enclave of Santa Barbara within the 1870s.
These vegetation turned such emblems of southern California that in 1952 they have been named the official flower of the town of Los Angeles by Mayor Fletcher Bowron.
Of their native South Africa, the flower is so common that it’s featured on the coat of arms of the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
It additionally adorns the symbol of a excessive South African honor – the Order of the Ikhamanga. The president of South Africa has the facility to grant this honor to residents for achievements in literature, tradition, arts, journalism, music, and sports activities.
Fowl of paradise vegetation develop wild amongst different shrubs alongside riverbanks in lots of components of South Africa, and are necessary sources of nectar for birds.
Rising chicken of paradise vegetation from seed can take three to 10 years, however propagating them by division produces new vegetation rather more shortly.
You’ll be able to dig up mature clumps in late spring or early summer time and divide these with 4 to 5 shoots or extra into single- or multiple-stem divisions.
Relying on the dimensions of the clump, you’ll must mark a radius eight to 12 inches out from the bottom of the plant, and dig right down to a depth of 10 to 24 inches. Pull up the plant and minimize by the foundation ball cleanly with a gardening knife or shovel.
If the plant is rising in a container, elevate it out of the pot, and minimize by the foundation ball with a pointy knife. Be certain that every part has no less than one stem connected.
Plant every division within the floor on the identical depth because the part of root ball or right into a pot eight to 12 inches large and deep – or bigger – relying on the dimensions of your division.
Maintain the soil moist for no less than three months till the roots are established. Then, if desired, you can begin fertilizing them as described under.
It’s best to have mature flowering vegetation in a single to a few years.
An alternative choice is to take away younger offshoots from mature vegetation.
Be taught extra about divide chicken of paradise flowers on this information.
In case you are affected person, you’ll be able to develop these vegetation from seeds. Your vegetation ought to begin blooming in three to 5 years.
Nonetheless, some sources declare that it may take so long as 10 years for vegetation that have been began from seed to bloom.
Saving your personal seeds from mature vegetation is an possibility, but when the vegetation are hybrids the seeds won’t produce true to the mum or dad plant.
If you happen to hand pollinate the flowers, it is best to see seed pods about 5 months later. Every pod will include 60-80 seeds.
When the flower has withered and died again, you’ll be able to gather the pods and minimize them open to take away the seeds inside.
The seeds are black with orange tufts and are the dimensions of candy pea seeds.
Plant the seeds as quickly after harvest as doable, earlier than the seed coat turns into laborious.
If you happen to can’t sow them instantly, planting inside six months of harvest is really useful to make sure viability.
If it’s essential to retailer the seeds, place them in a cool, effectively ventilated room till the seeds have fully dried out – sometimes every week to 10 days – then switch to a paper envelope and retailer in a cool, dry place till you might be able to plant.
If the seed coat is tough, whether or not you’ve saved your personal seeds or bought them, you’ll be able to lower the germination time by soaking the seeds in lukewarm water for one to 2 days, after which nicking the seed coat with a small file or knife. This course of is called scarification.
Take away the brilliant orange tuft of hairs after you’ve got soaked the seeds.
Sow the seeds 1/2 to at least one inch deep in a pot or planting tray in a moist seed beginning medium that’s unfastened and clear. Place a plastic bag or humidity dome excessive to keep up a damp atmosphere.
Offering backside warmth of 75-90°F will assist them to germinate, though it isn’t vital.
Seeds which have been scarified ought to germinate in a single to a few months if stored moist.
In keeping with Sydney Park Brown and Robert J. Black, professors on the Environmental Horticulture Division on the College of Florida IFAS Extension, you might be able to velocity up the germination time by placing the seeds in a plastic bag and refrigerating them at 40-45°F for 2 weeks. Then scarify them.
The seedlings might be transplanted to six-inch pots once they have three to 4 true leaves.
Maintain the soil evenly moist however not waterlogged till seedlings are six to eight inches tall earlier than transplanting them into the backyard as described under.
The best way to Develop
Whereas this plant originates within the subtropical coasts of South Africa, it’ll develop within the hotter climates of Zones 9-12.
Birds of paradise ought to be planted in a full solar location, though they will thrive in partial shade in subtropical climates equivalent to Florida.
The traits of the vegetation will differ relying on the quantity of sunshine they obtain.
Crops grown in full solar are smaller and have shorter flower stems, whereas these grown in partial shade are taller and should have considerably bigger flowers.
Because the vegetation produce extra flowers across the exterior of the plant, spacing them no less than six ft aside will permit ample room for the flowers to develop.
To transplant into the backyard, dig a gap that’s two to a few occasions the diameter of the foundation ball and as deep as the peak of the foundation ball. Completely water the plant earlier than gently eradicating it from the container.
Take care to not disturb the roots as these of younger vegetation are simply broken.
Place the plant within the gap, and ensure the highest of the foundation ball is even with the floor of the soil. Backfill with soil and water in effectively.
If chicken of paradise is planted too deeply, this will likely delay flowering.
You’ll be able to create a basin like a saucer across the plant, so it’ll maintain water till it drains to the roots.
Be certain that to water the plant repeatedly in the course of the first six months after planting. Water deeply when the floor of the soil feels dry to the contact.
Soil and Local weather Wants
Fowl of paradise vegetation are fairly forgiving and can develop in a variety of soil varieties.
Nonetheless, they develop finest in organically-rich, loamy soil that drains effectively with a pH of 5.5-7.5.
The vegetation can briefly tolerate temperatures as little as 24°F, though freezing temperatures will injury growing flowers and buds.
If you happen to stay in an space liable to freezes, both cowl your vegetation if a tough freeze is within the forecast, or carry pots inside when the climate will get chilly.
Too be taught extra, we cowl rising chicken of paradise indoors as a houseplant right here and overwinter your vegetation right here.
Watering and Mulching
If such a plant receives an excessive amount of or too little moisture, the leaves will flip yellow and finally die.
Mature vegetation are typically drought tolerant and can must be watered when the highest three inches of the soil is dry. They won’t tolerate moist ft and waterlogged soil could cause root rot.
Through the winter months, if there’s adequate rain, it’s possible you’ll not want to offer any further irrigation.
Place a two to three-inch-deep layer of mulch across the base of the plant. This may assist to preserve moisture, cut back weed infestations, and supply micronutrients.
Don’t add mulch too near the stem. Retaining a two to three-inch round space round your vegetation freed from mulch will defend towards stem rot.
Natural mulches – equivalent to wooden chips, bark, pine needles, or leaves – are appropriate, as are crushed stone or gravel in areas the place lighter supplies might blow away.
Whereas these vegetation can stay within the backyard with out supplemental fertilization, the addition of a balanced fertilizer will produce the most effective progress and flowering.
The most effective sorts of fertilizer to make use of embrace natural ones like well-rotted manure, worm castings, or blood meal, or a managed launch balanced product like Osmocote, accessible by way of Amazon, or granular panorama fertilizers.
Apply in accordance with package deal directions to a full grown clump each three months in the course of the rising season.
In case you are rising your vegetation in containers, you’ll be able to fertilize them each two weeks with a liquid fertilizer or apply sluggish launch pellets each two to a few months.
Discover extra data on fertilizing right here.
- Plant in a full solar or half shade location.
- Present organically-rich, well-draining soil.
- Water mature vegetation deeply when the soil is dry to a depth of three inches.
Pruning and Upkeep
These vegetation are pretty low upkeep.
An important factor that you will want to do by way of maintenance is to take away the lifeless leaves and previous flower stalks, in order that fungi don’t construct up in them.
Spent flower stalks might be minimize off on the base of the plant, as near the soil line as doable. Lifeless or dying foliage ought to be minimize on the level the leaf meets the stem.
If you don’t prune them off, they may stay connected to the plant indefinitely.
Within the case of enormous clumps, you’ll be able to skinny out the foliage from the middle of the clump to permit for elevated airflow.
The enormous chicken of paradise, S. nicolai, produces dense offshoots that it is best to skinny sometimes.
Species and Cultivars to Choose
You’ll be able to often discover birds of paradise on the market at native backyard facilities and nurseries in areas the place they thrive.
Frequent Fowl of Paradise
Recognized and beloved by so many all through the world, the orange and blue flowers of S. reginae are a dramatic addition to your panorama.
Fowl of Paradise, S. reginae
You could find one- to two-feet-tall vegetation in a single gallon containers available by way of Amazon.
S. nicolai is widespread in south and central Florida. Additionally it is generally known as large white chicken of paradise or African wild banana – due to its giant leaves.
This species can develop as much as 20 ft excessive and 5 to 6 ft large, so don’t mistake it for the widespread chicken of paradise and plant it in entrance of a window!
Big Fowl of Paradise, S. nicolai
Crops in 9 1/4-inch pots are accessible from Costa Farms by way of Residence Depot.
As you’ll be able to most likely guess from the identify, ‘Mandela’s Gold’ is a South African cultivar of S. reginae. It was produced by John Winter on the Kirstenbosch Nationwide Botanic Backyard in Cape City and launched in 1994.
Initially marketed as ‘Kirstenbosch Gold,’ the identify was modified in 1996 to honor Nelson Mandela.
The flowers have brilliant yellow petals and a blue tongue. Crops develop to a mature peak of 4 to 5 ft tall, with an identical unfold.
You’ll be able to be taught extra in regards to the various kinds of chicken of paradise vegetation right here.
Managing Pests and Illness
Fowl of paradise vegetation are often freed from pests and illnesses, however alas, there are exceptions.
Nonetheless, whereas pests and pathogens might assault particular person flowers or leaves, they typically don’t threaten the plant’s total well being.
Bugs are not often an issue, however aphids, scale, snails, grasshoppers, and caterpillars might sometimes graze on the vegetation. You’ll be able to management them with systemic pesticides or snail bait.
Mealybugs and spider mites can infest the leaves. Simply wipe them off with a gentle fabric. You even have the choice of utilizing natural pesticides like neem oil to deal with an infestation.
A few further species particularly might trigger issues in your vegetation:
Opogona Crown Borers
The larvae of Opogona omoscopa moths bore into the crowns of vegetation, inflicting the foliage to show yellow, wilt, and die. Consultants imagine these are secondary pests which can be interested in decaying tissue.
You’ll be able to stop such a infestation by offering good cultural care. Take away lifeless or dying plant particles that pulls the moths and keep away from extreme watering.
Whereas there are a variety of whitefly species that assault vegetation, the enormous whitefly (Aleurodicus dugesii) is a selected pest of chicken of paradise.
Not solely does this pest suck very important vitamins out of the plant, it additionally secretes a sugary substance known as honeydew that may draw copious quantities of ants.
Early detection is necessary for the management of this pest. If you happen to catch it early sufficient, you’ll be able to spray the vegetation with water from the hose to take away the whiteflies.
In case your vegetation have a extreme infestation, take away any contaminated leaves.
Learn extra about controlling whiteflies right here.
Discover extra recommendations on figuring out and controlling chicken of paradise pests right here.
A number of sorts of fungi and a standard bacterial pathogen can sometimes afflict chicken of paradise vegetation.
Armillaria Root Rot
This devastating illness can have an effect on all members of the Strelitzia genus.
Discolored leaves are a symptom of Armillaria. Ultimately, telltale clusters of what are generally known as “honey mushrooms” will develop on the base of the plant.
There isn’t any treatment, and fungal colonies can stay for hundreds of years. You’ll have to take away your plant if it contracts this illness.
Prevention contains correct drainage, good irrigation, and ample care.
The widespread bacterium Pseudomonas solanacearum can stay within the soil for greater than six years, and it might infect chicken of paradise vegetation by their roots.
It will also be transmitted by contaminated gardening instruments, plant particles, soil, bugs, and water.
Preliminary indicators of an infection embrace wilting and yellowing of the leaves. Then, the bottom of the plant will start to show black or brown on the soil line.
In case your plant is infested, it is best to take away and destroy it to forestall the illness from spreading.
Fungal Leaf Spot
For a pleasant change of tempo, such a an infection – brought on by quite a lot of fungal pathogens – isn’t often a significant issue for chicken of paradise vegetation.
Leaves which can be contaminated develop black, tan, brown, or yellow spots or patches. They could wither and drop off the plant.
Most chicken of paradise vegetation can deal with this illness. The truth is, the image of this an infection that you simply see above depicts an in any other case wholesome plant.
Offering good cultural care and sanitation will often assist to manage a fungal leaf spot an infection. If vital, you’ll be able to spray vegetation with neem oil each 10-14 days.
Also called botrytis blight, grey mould brought on by Botrytis cinerea can infect an array of vegetation and is effectively generally known as the reason for rot in strawberries.
Contaminated flowers and leaves may have a grey movie over them, which supplies illness its widespread identify. Ultimately, the leaves will wilt, decay, and drop from the plant.
Prevention contains eradicating fallen and decaying particles and dying plant tissue. Additionally, keep away from overhead watering.
Fungicides are typically efficient, however this fungus is infamous for growing resistance to them – typically in the course of the first season of use.
In some instances, a biofungicide equivalent to Stop can management this illness. This product accommodates a pressure of Bacillus subtilis and is accessible from Arbico Organics.
Spray your vegetation as soon as every week however when you have a critical an infection, you’ll be able to spray each three days.
Fowl of paradise seeds can harbor a fungal pathogen that causes root rot, also referred to as damping off.
You’ll be able to stop this by soaking seeds at room temperature for twenty-four hours. Drain, then soak the seeds in 135°F water for half-hour.
Allow them to cool and dry, after which plant them in clear soil beginning medium.
Discover extra recommendations on figuring out and treating chicken of paradise illnesses right here.
Greatest Makes use of
You have got most likely seen these flowers in florist retailers.
The vegetation make a ravishing focus in a backyard or a pleasant houseplant in cooler areas, particularly when you have a sunroom.
As if having a big perennial with beautiful flowers in your yard was not sufficient, these kind of vegetation have some uncommon benefits.
Fowl of paradise leaves are evergreen and stay on the plant. This makes them a superb alternative for including decorative curiosity close to swimming swimming pools, the place shedding leaves can create a upkeep downside.
They pair effectively with different evergreen perennials, equivalent to Agave vilmoriniana, Senecio mandraliscae, and Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ which have comparable cultural necessities.
In addition they function lovely minimize flowers, and with somewhat care and a few contemporary flower meals can last as long as two weeks in a vase.
Be taught extra about make your contemporary flowers last more on this information.
Fast Reference Rising Information
|Plant Sort:||Flowering herbaceous perennial||Flower / Foliage Colour:||Orange, blue, and white/graysish-green, yellow/inexperienced|
|Native to:||South Africa||Upkeep:||Low|
|Hardiness (USDA Zone):||9-12||Soil Sort:||Wealthy loam, chalk, sand|
|Bloom Time / Season:||Practically 12 months spherical||Soil pH:||5.5-7.5|
|Publicity:||Full solar, half shade||Soil Drainage:||Nicely-draining|
|Spacing:||6 ft||Attracts:||Birds, hummingbirds|
|Planting Depth:||Depth of the foundation ball, 1/2-1 inch (seeds)||Companion Planting:||Agave vilmoriniana, Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’, Senecio mandraliscae|
|Top:||3-30 ft relying on species||Makes use of:||Border, hedges, minimize flowers, avenue plantings, round swimming pools|
|Time to Maturity:||1-3 years from divisions; 3-10 years from seed||Household:||Strelitziaceae|
|Water Wants:||Low to average||Genus:||Strelitzia|
|Tolerance:||Drought (as soon as established)||Species:||juncea, nicolai, reginae|
|Frequent Pests:||Aphids, caterpillars, glassy-winged sharpshooters, grasshoppers, mealybugs, opogona crown borers, scale, spider mites, whiteflies||Frequent Illnesses:||Armillaria, bacterial wilt, fungal leaf spot, grey mould, root rot|
A Carefree Noble Flower
Maybe you’ve got purchased a chicken of paradise flower for a cherished one, and even your self.
Chances are you’ll not understand that this beautiful plant was as soon as an thrilling novelty from a overseas land. Now it’s a low-care fixture in locations with heat climates, equivalent to southern California and Florida.
The vegetation are common each for landscaping and rising as houseplants. With correct care, they may thrive and produce as much as three dozen flowers a 12 months.
Who says that you would be able to’t have a regal backyard of your very personal?
Are you rising chicken of paradise vegetation? Inform us about your expertise and share your ideas within the feedback part under.
And for extra data on develop different distinctive flowering vegetation, take a look at these guides subsequent: