Strelitzia Reginae (Kraanvoël Blom/Bird of Paradise)

Ever wondered why the Strelitzia Reginae’s common name is Bird of Paradise? Look closely and you will see the orange and blue flower resembles a brightly coloured bird in flight. This bold plant is not only making gardeners look twice, but it also has some ecological benefits.  The Bird of Paradise attracts sunbirds and mousebirds to a garden, which helps with harvesting the nectar of these plants.

These striking flowers and leaves are well loved by the floral industry as both are long-lasting in a vase. Strelitzia Reginae is native to the Eastern Cape, but unbelievably, it is the floral emblem for the city of Los Angeles in America!


Strelitzia is a low maintenance plant that only needs cutting back of its dying leaves and flowers in order to keep the plant tidy. It can render a stunning display for many years without needing a lot of care.

Water requirements:

The Bird of Paradise or Kraanvoël Blom is a water-wise plant, although when newly planted they need to be watered regularly until fully established.

Flowers & Foliage:

This unique flower is recognizable by a long stalk which stands tall above the foliage and is grey-green, banana-like with a slight tinge of red in the central vein.  The Strelitzia flowers from autumn and deep into spring.


Strelitzia’s are propagated from seed or by dividing. If started by seed, it will take about 3 to 4 years before flowering – the wait is definitely worthwhile!

Landscaping uses:

This architectural plant is suitable for gardens of different sizes. It prefers full sun but can be used in shady areas however will flower less as a consequence. It can be mass planted or alone as a focus plant.  The Bird of Paradise is also a good screening plant, and great for attracting wild birds and bees to your garden. Being a slow grower, it can also be used as a pot plant.  It goes well with either forest, woodland, rockery or succulent garden themes.


Strelitzias need well-drained compost-rich soil. Established plants need compost, manure or slow-release fertilizer every spring to stay healthy and vibrant.

Different species:

There are four other Strelitzia species that are widely used in South African gardens.

Strelitzia Nicolai otherwise known as Wild Banana is suited for the larger garden. Don’t plant these close to paving or buildings as they need a lot of space. It has beautiful white and blue flowers.

Other orange-flowering Strelitzias are Strelizia Parvifolia with spoon-shaped leaves and Strelitzia Juncea with cylindrical leaves.

The fifth Strelitzia and the newest member to this stunning plant species are Strelitzia “Mandela’s Gold’ with yellow and blue flowers and a more compact growing habit.

Be sure to enjoy the orange warmth of your Strelitzias in winter!

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