Answer: Bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is a native of South Africa and one of the most unusual and attractive members of the banana family (Musaceae). This popular plant bears a unique flower that resembles a brightly colored bird in flight, giving it the common name, bird-of-paradise. It is tropical, so it will not grow outdoors during the winter months in Michigan. Plan to grow it as a houseplant.
Bird-of-paradise thrives in most soils, but does best in rich loamy soils with good drainage. For good flower production, place plants in sunny or partially shaded locations. Plants grown in partial shade will be taller and have somewhat larger flowers. In full sun, plants are smaller and flowers are on shorter stems.
Liberal watering during the growing season will encourage plants to grow more profusely and ensure a large crop of flowers during the blooming season.
During the winter months, plants should be watered only when the soil next to the plants is fairly dry.
Pruning is rather straightforward; remove spent flower stalks and damaged leaves as needed. Cut some of the stalks down to ground level to control the size of the plant.
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