Ask a Question forum: Strelitzia. Orange vs. White. How to identify?

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Name: Nikk Conroy
Scranton, Pa (Zone 5b)
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NikkNucleus
May 25, 2017 11:38 AM CST
I have one orange bird of paradise that I know for sure is orange, and one much larger one that I know is white. But I have 3, that are the same size and smaller and I am unsure how to tell them apart if they are the same size/age. What can I look for to help identify who is who?
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 25, 2017 12:23 PM CST
White birds have much larger leaves and shorter, thicker stems even when they're small. The orange ones have leaves that don't get much bigger than 18in. long and 5in. wide, maybe. Their stems are longer, and much narrower. Even the baby leaves on my white ones are wider than than my hand's spread.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Nikk Conroy
Scranton, Pa (Zone 5b)
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NikkNucleus
May 26, 2017 8:39 AM CST
That's all I needed to know! I wasn't sure if at that size, the white bird leaves would be similar in size, or bigger. But now I know that I've got one big white bird and 4 orange birds. Funny story, I was in a local walmart in the garden section (as usual) and I noticed an unmarked but priced plant in a small pot. It looked just like my orange birds, but smaller. Up here in PA, nowhere typically sells orange birds, it's usually the 3gal white birds. So, when I came across this unmarked plant, just in case... I bought it anyway. Sure enough, that it IS an orange bird. Now to get them to bloom lol
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
May 26, 2017 9:41 AM CST
Good luck, Nick and glad I could help. The orange birds bloom best if they are really crowded in their pots so don't be separating them or potting up too often. Get them outside for as much sun as you can give them, bring them in when the nights fall into the 40's and put them in your sunniest spot indoors for the cold weather. If it were me, I'd take all your orange bird plants and stuff them in one pot. You'll get flowers a lot sooner if you crowd them to begin with.

White birds really REALLY don't make good potted plants unless you have a huge greenhouse, shopping mall or a 3-story conservatory. They make huge, thick heavy stems, and quickly grow to great heights making them very prone to tipping over if they're grown in a pot. They're very heavy feeders and like a lot of water. Here, every year I have to cut out a 15ft. stem from two or 3 big clumps of the things just to keep them from tangling their leaves in the power lines. At our local botanical garden they have one next to a koi pond that is at least 30ft. tall.
Thumb of 2017-05-26/dyzzypyxxy/8537df 7ft. leaf with 5ft. stem

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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