The Q&A Archives: giant bird of papadise root system

Question: Hi,
I'm in San Diego and am considering planting giant bird of paradise on the side of our driveway where there is a new retaining wall, a 16

Answer: Although the site you describe is culturally sound for Giant Bird of Paradise, I'm concerned the root system will grow too large for the area you describe. The Giant Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia nicholai, can reach a height of 30 feet, with a trunk capable of reaching 20 feet. The leaves are identical to the White Bird of Paradise except they are attached to a trunk and arranged in a fan pattern on opposite sides of the trunk. Leaf scars are formed on the trunk when leaves fall off, giving the trunk a rough texture. The flowers are white with blue tongues and reddish-brown bracts about 18 inches long but are sometimes difficult to see because they are so high. The roots spread by rhizomes and while you can dig and remove excessive plants, eventually you'll be facing quite a battle. If you want to grow Bird of Paradise, I'd recommend the smaller species. Orange Bird of Paradise: The orange flowering Strelitzia reginae is the plant most often referred to as Bird of Paradise. There is a variety known as ?Mandelas?s Gold? that has yellow petals and a blue tongue. This plant remains considerably smaller in both height and girth and will still give you that tropical look with little maintenance.

Calla Lilies are well-behaved plants and will make a nice companion to Bird of Paradise.

Best wishes with your garden.

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