Plant of the Month - June
Strelitzia “Bird of Paradise” Chosen by Gardener Lisa McFarlane
Bird of Paradise with its magnificent exotic blooms, is named for closely resembling the tropical bird with the same name, an ornamental plant of the family Strelitziaceae native to South Africa. First introduced to Britain in 1773, where it was grown at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Since then, it has been widely introduced around the world, the United States, California, and Florida being its main area of cultivation due to their warm climates.
In areas with cold winters, it is normally grown under glass, in a sunny spot, they will only tolerate light frosts and will not grow well in temperatures under 10 degrees but can be grown in pots outside in the summer and moved inside during the winter months. If giving the right growing conditions, they will flower several times throughout the year. They have become a popular house plant with their showy colourful flowers and a popular cut flower used by florists.
A herbaceous perennial housed in our glass pavilion in the kitchen garden can grow up to 6 feet tall; the hard beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is placed perpendicular to the stem, giving the appearance of a bird’s head and beak, Bird of paradise plant grows wild in South Africa and is pollinated by birds, hence its sturdy leaf stems and flowers can bear the weight of several birds at one time.