The Orange Bird of Paradise is a beautiful, colorful flower with bright orange flowers shaped like a bird on long stems, similar to a graceful crane.
When people say the “Bird of Paradise,” they usually mean this variety with the orange flowers.
Learn how to care for the bird of paradise in this article.
Bird of Paradise Overview
The Bird of Paradise is a member of the Strelitziaceae family and botanically known as the Strelitzia reginae.
This striking plant is native to South Africa where it’s also called the Orange Bird of Paradise or Crane Flower.
This is a distinctive tropical flower that is a close relative of the banana plant. Its popular name is due to the fact that the flower resembles a tropical bird bearing the same name.
A rapid grower, the Bird of Paradise, makes for a vigorous houseplant when cultivated indoors and likewise makes a wonderful addition to your outdoor garden.
Bird of Paradise Varieties
There are many varieties of orange bird of paradise plants available. Some varieties of these include:
- Strelitzia reginae Ovata – this orange variety has unique rounded foliage.
- Strelitzia reginae Pygmaea – an orange cultivar that grows only to about three feet in height.
- Strelitzia reginae Glauca – an orange variety with powdery gray foliage.
Read more about other Bird of Paradise Varieties.
Orange Bird of Paradise Care Guide
This is an evergreen perennial that is generally identified for cultivation in warmer climates, but it can be cultivated in USDA Hardiness zones 9 through 11.
It is commonly seen in Southern California where it is the official flower of Los Angeles.
However, in the U.S., Bird of Paradise plants are popular as houseplants. These plants will grow as high as five to six feet tall.
Soil for the Orange Bird of Paradise
Soil for the Outdoors
This plant grows best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Amend the soil before planting with compost and a bit of slow-release fertilizer.
If you are planting it in your outdoor garden, you need to prepare a hole in the soil bed that is twice the size of the root ball. Position your plant in the hole and then fill it in with the rich soil.
Soil for Indoors
Rich, fertile, well-draining potting mix or potting soil mixed with compost will be optimal for an indoor plant. Pots and containers need to have a good number of drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out through.
Containers should be an inch or two larger than the size of the root ball.
Light for the Orange Bird of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise prefers full sun, but will still do well in partial shade.
When cultivated indoors, they require bright light with some exposure to direct sunlight to promote flowering. Your plant should be shielded from the noon sun to protect the foliage from scorching.
Water and Humidity for the Orange Bird of Paradise
Water and Humidity for Outdoors
When planting your Bird of Paradise outdoors, water it for the first several months to keep the soil moist. These plants like humid conditions, similar to their native environments.
Water and Humidity for Indoors
When cultivating the Bird of Paradise as a houseplant, the soil bed needs to be consistently moist, but never waterlogged.
During the spring and summer growing season, you may need to water almost daily because the large-sized foliage will transpire moisture. Soak your plant and allow it to drain, but never leave this plant sitting in water.
As a tropical plant it likes high humidity levels, so misting regularly is a good idea.
Temperature for the Orange Bird of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise likes warm climates.
The Bird of Paradise needs temperatures that measure above 60° Fahrenheit during the winter season, as it does not tolerate cold weather. When exposed to frost, it recovers very slowly.
If you are cultivating your potted plant outdoors, bring it inside during the winter unless the temperature dips rarely. If you live in a warmer climate, cut down your plants to a foot above the soil bed surface.
Cover the area around your plant with mulch and straw. Cover the entire area and plant with material such as that used in row covers and fix it to the ground. Once the last frost has passed in the spring, uncover everything.
Fertilizer for the Orange Bird of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise is a heavy feeder. You can feed it weekly during its growing season with a liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength. That will promote healthy growth.
- Learn more about Bird of Paradise Fertilizers.
Flowers and Blooms
When Birds of Paradise mature to four years of age, they will be ready to flower. To aid in blooming, keep your plant a bit rootbound and give it at least six hours of full sunlight daily.
One reason these plants don’t bloom is a lack of light. The soil bed needs to be kept consistently moist to encourage flowering during the growing season.
Pruning the Orange Bird of Paradise
The blooms on this plant will last approximately three weeks before fading and dying. Old or damaged foliage should be removed by pulling leaves or trimming them off with sharp sterilized garden shears. If leaves are healthy, avoid pruning.
If your plant is large and needs substantial pruning, do so in the spring using a pruning saw or similar. All foliage and stems can be cut to an inch or so above the ground.
If you find your plant to be bushy and crowded, trim off selected stems.
Repotting the Orange Bird of Paradise
As a rapid grower, the Bird of Paradise will need to be repotted annually in the next size up container.
Once a plant has matured, it can be a little rootbound. This facilitates flowering. Avoid repotting during flowering as it will interrupt the flowers from blooming.
Propagating the Orange Bird of Paradise
The easiest and best method for propagating your bird of paradise is through root division. You can also grow these plants from seed, but the division method will be much more rapid.
Propagating by Root Division
For propagation by root division, choose a mature plant that has already produced flowers for at least three consecutive years.
If you are dividing an outdoor plant, you’ll need the right size gardening tools to manage the division of the plant.
If you are dividing a houseplant, a gardening knife will suffice because they’re smaller. For a houseplant division, prepare a container with fresh potting soil.
- Remove offshoots at the base of your plant with at least three leaves.
- Using a knife or similar, divide the underground rhizome.
- Repot in a new container or a new hole in your garden.
Propagating by Seed
- Soak plant seeds for 24 to 48 hours before planting. Remove any stringy orange debris that is attached. Nick seeds with a knife tip or nail file.
- Plant seeds approximately an inch deep in well-draining potting mix. Seeds should be spaced at least three inches apart.
- Place the container in a warm room at roughly 80°F with indirect light. Cover the container with plastic wrap to keep the soil moist.
- After the seeds germinate and the seedlings develop three leaves, you can transplant the plantlet into a small pot about six inches in diameter.
- When your plant grows to at least six inches, you can transplant it to a more permanent location.
Orange Bird of Paradise Toxicity and Pets
According to the ASPCA – American Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals, this plant is toxic to cats and dogs. The irritants contained in its seeds and fruits can cause:
- Mild nausea
In case of ingestion, contact your veterinarian
Orange Bird of Paradise Pests, Diseases, and Problems
Fortunately, this plant doesn’t really have many issues to deal with.
Common pests to watch for if you are cultivating a Bird of Paradise as a houseplant include scale insects, aphids, and whiteflies.
Check underneath the foliage and apply insecticidal soap if you find evidence of a pest infestation.
The Bird of Paradise is susceptible to Botrytis cinerea or gray mold. Foliage and blooms will develop dark spots together with a covering of gray mold. Remove all infected parts of the plant and then move the plant to a location with increased air circulation.
Root rot is also a risk when overwatered. If roots are allowed to sit in water, a fungus may form and cause the root system to rot, killing the plant.
Some affected plants can be saved by removing the plant from the soil bed and removing any infected roots. Rinse off healthy roots and apply a fungicide, then repot in fresh potting mix.
When Bird of Paradise leaves curl, it is generally a sign of underwatering. Check the soil to see if it’s dry more often than you currently are. Revisit your watering schedule and method.
If the plant is mature, it may be normal aging. It can also be indicative of a lack of humidity, a lack of essential nutrients, or it may be underwatered.
Foliage with Breaks or Slits
For outdoor plants, slits and breaks may be normal due to outdoor air circulation.
Orange Bird of Paradise Final Thoughts
The Bird of Paradise is a striking, colorful plant that asks very little of it its owner, just regular fertilizing and watering, and it will reward you with stunning vivid orange blooms.
For other bird of paradise articles, check out:
- Yellow Bird of Paradise Care Guide
- White Bird of Paradise Care Guide
- Red Bird of Paradise Care Guide
- Mexican Bird of Paradise Care Guide
Orange Bird of Paradise FAQs
How tall does orange bird of paradise get?
The orange bird of paradise can grow up to 6 feet tall with the proper care.
How much sun does an orange bird of paradise need?
The orange bird of paradise needs 6 hours of full sun for best growth. It will still grow in partial shade, but may not bloom. For flowers to bloom, it needs plenty of direct light.
What’s the difference between white and orange bird of paradise?
The key difference between the white and orange bird of paradise is the color of their sepals. The white bird of paradise has white sepals, while the orange bird of paradise has orange sepals. Another difference is their size. The white variety can grow up to 20 feet tall, while the orange variety will grow up to 6 feet tall.
How fast does the orange bird of paradise grow?
The orange bird of paradise can reach up to 6 feet tall in 3 to 4 years. They can grow up to 2 feet per year at that rate with proper care. Give it full sun, keep the soil moist, give it weekly feedings, and keep it in a warm and humid environment.
Can I put my bird of paradise outside in the summer?
Yes, you can definitely put the bird of paradise outside in the summer when the temperatures are warm. These plants actually prefer warmer temperatures and higher humidity. Be sure to water it and keep the soil moist.
How do I get my orange bird of paradise to bloom?
The most common reason the orange bird of paradise does not bloom is due to a lack of light. The bird of paradise needs 6 hours of full sun each day for it to bloom flowers. Keep the soil moist and ensure it’s not exposed to cold weather, and it will continue to offer blooms throughout its growing season.
Why is bird of paradise expensive?
The bird of paradise price is reflective of how old and mature the plants are. The plants that are 4 to 6 years old and bloom well are expensive because you will have beautiful and exotic flowers immediately. You won’t need to wait for the plants to mature. It’s similar to the price of bonsai trees and how they get more expensive as the bonsai ages.