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). Birds of Paradise is native to South America, where it is known as the Crane Flower.

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 ends with a sharp knife. Hydrate in a solution of water and commercial floral food before storage or usage.

Additional notes: Birds of Paradise symbolize freedom, beauty and magnificence. 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.

Video Demonstration:

Triadic Birds of Paradise Design