Bird of Paradise
Common Names: Bird of Paradise, Bird(s), Crane Flower
Botanical names: Strelitzia, (stre-LITS-ee-a)
Availability: Year round
Vase life: 7 to 14 days
Storage temperatures: 55 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit
Ethylene Sensitive: No
Description: Dramatic flowers that fan out from a boat-shaped sheath at the end of a long, thick, fibrous stalk 24 to 48 inches long. Petals are pointed and 3 to 4 inches long, giving a bird like appearance.
Color: Orange with a deep purple/blue hue petals
Botanical facts: This flower was named after Queen Charlotte of Mecklenberg - Strelitz (1744 - 1818).
Design notes: These dramatic tropical blossoms are used in large vase arrangements and contemporary floral designs. The stems are very large and heavy. The use of chicken-wire is suggested for extra support when designing in floral foam.
Purchasing hints: Purchase stems with very tight sheaths, just beginning to open. Stems should be free of damage or brown spots.
Conditioning: Remove any protective wrap, tape or covering on the sheath. As a cut flower, strelitzia flowers will not open (fan out) by themselves. Soak the flower heads in warm water for 20 minutes to soften the sheath. Then carefully open the sheath, working your thumbs under the petals and gently lifting them up and fanning them out, one petal after another. This process will release a sticky, jelly-like substance which should be wiped away with a damp cloth. Cut 2-3 inches off of the stem under water with a sharp knife. Hydrate in a solution of warm water and commercial floral preservative / floral food for two hours before storage or usage. Hold strelitzia at a temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This flower is very cold sensitive. Cold damage will appear as brown lesions on the flowers and bracts.