Known for its stunning tropical flowers, the bird of paradise is a staple in many New Orleans courtyards, backyards and patios. The vibrant flowers nestle among thick green leaves and look as if cranes are delicately perched in the foliage.
The plant grows slowly in clumps as its underground stem divides. The flowers are produced in groups of one to three on long stalks and mature plants can produce up to 36 flower spikes a year.
When transplanting, dig a hole that is three times the diameter of the root ball taking care not to disturb the roots. They prefer rich, well-draining soil. If the bird of paradise is planted too deeply, this may delay flowering. Water regularly during the first six months.
The bird of paradise represents faithfulness, love and thoughtfulness — making it the perfect romantic gift. Fun fact: The bird of paradise is the official flower for a ninth wedding anniversary.
Birds of paradise are best known for bright orange and blue colors, but flowers can also be white and blue and completely white.