60720Unlike the common bird of Paradise that is grown for striking bright orange flowers, the giant bird of Paradise, Strelitzia nicolai, is grown for strikingly lush foliage. The big rich green leaves get nearly six feet long, and flare outward from leaning trunks that can eventually reach upstairs eaves. Foliage is healthiest if sheltered from harsh sunlight (such as hot reflected glare), wind and frost.

Bold white blooms with contrastingly delicate blue streaks are a rare surprise on older trunks. The navy blue floral husks with nectar dripping from them look like the beaks of drooling seagulls; but the flared flowers above look like the crests of parrots.

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18 thoughts on “Giant Bird Of Paradise

    1. Rare? They are likely more popular there than they are here, unless you are too far inland. They sometimes get frosted in the cooler spots here. Even though white is my favorite color, I still prefer the traditional orange bird-of-Paradise. They are so cool as cut flower. The big ones are more for lush foliage.

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      1. I totally remember the common orange ones down south. They get progressively more common south of Pismo Beach. I remember the big white ones too, but that might be because I work in landscapes designed by someone who happens to be fond of them.

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    1. In your region, it would need to be grown inside through winter, but is too big and cumbersome for most interiors. It is therefore probably quite rare, and might only be found in large interiors, such as malls. You might not recognize the foliage without the flowers. This one is not grown as a cut flower because the stems are too short, and the flowers are too . . . sloppy. The traditional orange bird-of-Paradise are excellent cut flowers, and last for a very long time.

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    1. How funny. You are not first to dislike the common bird-of-Paradise. My colleague down south likes them only in moderation, just because they are somewhat common in the wrong situations there. I like them more because they are not so common here. The giant bird-of-Paradise is of course more of a foliar plant than a floral plant. It is so big and bold, but can get damaged by frost where winters are cool.

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    1. It certainly does make a statement, but at first, more of a foliar statement than a floral statement. The big bold flowers can be quite a surprise to those who do not realize that it is related to the more familiar bird-of-Paradise. They are not as flashy in regard to color, but are more striking in their scale and form.

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    1. Yes, they are pretty sweet. The specimen in the picture was on a low slope at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, so is rarely damaged by frost. In my former neighborhood, which was not very far away, they got frosted every two or three years. They still looked rad though.

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    1. Yes! Someone who lived in that neighborhood asked that I get its picture a year earlier. When she requested it again the following year, I could not refuse. That article is a few years old now, so the specimen in the picture might be even bigger by now.

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