- Removing Bird Of Paradise Blooms: How To Deadhead Bird Of Paradise Flowers
- What Does Deadheading Bird of Paradise Flowers Mean?
- How to Deadhead Bird of Paradise Flowers
- Why Should I Deadhead Bird of Paradise Flowers?
- Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise plant): plant care, tips & information
- The best spot for the Strelitzia
- Can my Bird of Paradise plant flower?
- Strelitzia Nicolai XXL: this large plant will need care as frequently as your average cactus!
- Lobster claw, false bird-of-paradise
- How to Care for Heliconia
- Sun and Water
- Soil and Food
- Growing Conditions
- Pruning and Propagation
- Pests and Disease
- Where to Buy
- Commonly Grown Varieties
- Heliconia Species, Crab Claws, False Bird of Paradise, Hanging Claw
Removing Bird Of Paradise Blooms: How To Deadhead Bird Of Paradise Flowers
Native to South Africa, the bird of paradise flower, also known as the crane flower, is a tropical plant that bears bird-like and very vivid flowers at the top of very sturdy stalks. These plants have been known to grow more than 5 feet. Birds of paradise are easy to grow and do not often bring many problems as they are very resilient plants; however, they do require a warm and humid climate. If this plant is being grown in a cold climate, it can be stored in a container and brought indoors for the duration of the winter. They may also need to be deadheaded.
What Does Deadheading Bird of Paradise Flowers Mean?
Deadheading bird of paradise flowers simply refers to removing bird of paradise blooms that are dead. These dead blooms are often referred to
as spent blooms and are dead, wilting blooms that are generally brown in color. This encourages new and bigger blooms, not to mention the fact that this process keeps the plant visually appealing.
How to Deadhead Bird of Paradise Flowers
If you are going to grow bird of paradise flowers, then you must know how to deadhead them. Start with the basics and make sure you have a solid pair of gardening gloves and a sharp pair of pruning shears ready to go. The stalks can be as wide as 6 inches, so you’ll need a good grip.
You will want to cut the spent bloom, which lacks the typical orange and blue colors, at the flower’s base. You also want to cut the stalk to which the bloom was attached so long as there is not another flower already developing on that very same stalk.
Get as close as possible to the base when cutting the stalk. Don’t forget to make sure to remove stems, leaves and other dead foliage.
Why Should I Deadhead Bird of Paradise Flowers?
According to the University of Hawaii, failure to properly deadhead bird of paradise flowers can result in a shrub that is completely covered in dead organic matter. Fungal infections and disease are also common when the bloom and its leaves and its stalk are not cut back.
Further, if you do not take the time to deadhead bird of paradise flowers, you are directly harming the aesthetics of the plant. After all, who wants to see a dead, brown bloom when they can see a brightly colored flower full of life and energy?
Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise plant): plant care, tips & information
The Strelitzia is also known as the Bird of Paradise plant. A nickname that does justice to its special look. In addition to beautifully ornate leaves, these plants might grow a very special flower. This flower looks a lot like the colourful bird of paradise. In this blog we’ll tell you all there is to know about the Strelitzia: origins, plant care and other info!
Do you see brown spots on the leaves? Then you probably overwatered your Strelitzia.
The Strelitzia’s potting soil should nearly always be slightly moist. The best way of keeping the soil slightly moist, is by regularly giving the plant small amounts of water. Make sure you never give much water at once to prevent the Bird of Paradise plant from getting wet roots (which can cause the roots to rot). If you spot brown spots on the leaves, you have probably overwatered the plant a bit. Let the potting soil dry a little before you water it again, and give a little less than the previous time.
How often your Strelitzia needs watering depends on its size, its location and on the season. When exposed to more light and/or heat, plant will need more water. And of course a large plant generally drinks more than a small plant. During wintertime you can let the soil dry up a bit before watering again.
You do not necessarily have to spray the leaves with a water spray, but we do recommend it! This will prevent the leaves from getting dusty and reduces the risk of plant pests.
The best spot for the Strelitzia
The Bird of Paradise plant has South African roots, and therefore naturally prefers a light spot. The plant is grown under sunlight, and therefore does not have to get used to a sunny spot at your home. Do make sure to keep an eye on it during hot summer days: the afternoon sun might be too much on its leaves. Do you prefer to place the plant in a slightly less light spot? A little shade is no problem, as long as the plant receives at least 4 hours of sunlight per day.
The Strelitzia does not need to be repotted very frequently. So you will be able to enjoy our included pot for quite a long time. When the plant is growing out of the pot, you will need to repot it. Make sure to choose a pot that is at least 20% larger than the current pot.
The chances of your Strelitzia flowering are slim, but who knows!
Can my Bird of Paradise plant flower?
The chances of a Strelitzia growing flowers as a houseplant are, unfortunately, very small. It could only happen after the plant is 8 years old, during the fall. Now you may think: don’t plants always flower during spring or summer? That’s correct! However, since the Strelitzia’s flower is so large, it needs more time to develop than most flowers. There’s one way that might help the plant flower indoors: by not repotting the plant unneccesarily. The plant’s roots need to be tight in the pot in order for it have a chance at flowering.
The outer leaves and edges can turn brown over time. This is a natural process, which unfortunately cannot be prevented. You can remove brown edges by cutting them off. You can also remove the entire leaf by cutting the leaf stem 2 cm above the core. Never cut the leaf off completely. After cutting, the plant is more sensitive to infections. If you cut the leaf at the core, the entire plant can die from an infection. But if you cut the leaf 2 cm above it, only this small part can become contaminated. The plant will then repel this part, so there is no risk of further infection.
Our Strelitzia XXL is potted with semi hydroponics, making it very to care for.
Strelitzia Nicolai XXL: this large plant will need care as frequently as your average cactus!
Caring for the large Stelitzia Nicolai is much easier than you might think! The houseplant is potted with a so-called semi hydroponics; the soil contains clay granules that absorb water, providing the plant with a continuous water level. This water level also increases humidity levels in the vicinity of the Strelitzia, making the air more pleasant for it. Our XXL plants also come with a water meter which will show exactly when they need watering, and just how much you should give. Easy does it!
Got any questions the Strelitzia Nicolai? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Lobster claw, false bird-of-paradise
Few plants combine the colorful and bizarre as well as these natives of tropical Central and South America and the southwest Pacific. Members of this large group feature big clusters of showy bracts containing small, true flowers. In some, the clusters look like lobster claws; in others, they remind you of bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia) blossoms. Bract colors include red, orange, yellow, pink, lavender, and green. Plants form sizable clumps of large leaves and range in size from 3 feet-tall patio plants (excellent in containers) to giants reaching upwards of 15 feet Clumps expand with age, so provide sufficient room. Potted plants can bloom any time; those in the ground flower in spring and summer. Deer don’t seem to care for them.
Heliconias are excellent cut flowers. To extend the bloom’s life, cut off the bottom 12 inches of the stem; then submerge the flowers and foliage in tepid water for an hour prior to display.
- To 410 feet tall, with leaves to 3 feet long.
- Erect flower clusters to 212 feet long.
- Yellow or orange to vermilion or scarlet bracts; white or yellow-tipped green flowers.
- To 615 feet tall, with 2- to 6 feet-long leaves.
- Erect blossom clusters 112312 feet long.
- Reddish orange bracts with green margins; white to pale green flowers.
- To 1220 feet tall, with 5 feet-long leaves and erect flower clusters to 112 feet Bracts are red or yellow, often marked with contrasting colors; flowers are white with green tips.
- Can reach 10 feet tall, with leaves to 5 feet long.
- Erect flower clusters to 112 feet tall, with spirally set orange, red, or yellow bracts and green-tipped yellow flowers.
- To 8 feet tall; 2- to 3 feet-long leaves.
- Pendulous, 2 feet inflorescence with spirally arranged red bracts, white flowers.
- Sometimes sold as Heliconia collinsiana.
- Highly variable species; more vigorous than other heliconias.
- Grows 48 feet tall, with leaves to 20 inches long, blossom clusters to 7 inches long.
- Bracts spread upward at a 45 angle.
- They vary in color; may be red, sometimes shading to cream or orange, and are often multicolored.
- Flowers are yellow, orange, or red, usually tipped in dark green or white.
- Many named selections are available.
- To 46 feet tall, with 2- to 4 feet-long leaves.
- Hanging inflorescences to 12 feet long contain red bracts shading to yellow at the tip; flowers are greenish yellow.
- Grows to 610 feet tall, with leaves to 5 feet long.
- Upright, 112 feet-long blossom clusters feature red or orange-red, spiraling bracts that enclose yellow-green flowers.
- Fire and Ice is compact, at 45 feet high; more cold hardy than the species.
- Variable growth to 212 feet tall.
- Dark green, maroon-stalked leaves to 5 feet long.
- Upright, foot-tall flower stalks hold green, white-tipped flowers in red or orange bracts with green tips and yellow edges.
- Dwarf Jamaican grows 1123 feet tall, with peachy red bracts.
- Firebird, to 4 feet tall, has brilliant red bracts.
- Sharonii, to 35 feet., has orange and yellow bracts.
Heliconias grow best with rich soil, heavy feeding, and plenty of water. They prefer acid soil; chlorosis (yellow leaves with green veins) is common in alkaline soil. During periods of active growth, give plants plenty of water and feed frequently with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Stems that have flowered should be cut away to make room for new growth. Reduce watering in cool weather. Frost will kill plants to the ground, but they will resprout from rhizomes if the cold spell is short. Where winters are cold for long periods, take potted plants indoors until spring. Smaller types can be easily stored in a garage without water or light; they will turn brown but will green up when taken outdoors once winter is over.
How to Care for Heliconia
Tropical gardening is all about statement plants. Some plants announce their presence with their bright, bold colors. Others make a name for themselves flaunting their imposing size or interesting shapes. Then there’s a select few that check off all of the boxes. Meet the Heliconia, and learn why this plant should be included in your landscape design.
Bats, birds, butterflies, frogs, and humans all benefit from this gorgeous plant! I’ve never encountered a Heliconia that I didn’t like, but I have certainly met a few that didn’t particularly care for me! Yes, I’ve killed a few in my day, before coming to the realization that its care guidelines are non-negotiable. It’s important to understand that growing Heliconia isn’t difficult, but it’s certainly not a plant it and forget it sort of houseplant, either. With forethought and five minutes of your time every couple of days, you can keep one of these flamboyant gems to be the summertime envy of literally everyone on your block.
Heliconias are part of the Heliconiaceae family. They’re similar to both the tropical Ginger and the Bird of Paradise. There are nearly 200 species of Heliconia, and all come from tropical forest areas, with the large majority coming from the tropical Americas. You’ll most often hear them referred to as Lobster-Claw, False Bird of Paradise, Parrot Beak, and Toucan Beak; all names that make for an adequate description of this interesting plant. They can be as tiny as almost two feet tall, and as gigantic as nearly 30 feet tall in their native habitat! Characterized by paddle-shaped leaves and bizarre flower inflorescence consisting of waxy bracts that can either be erect or pendulous and smaller ‘true’ flowers within the bracts, the Heliconia is one of the most widely sought after tropical plants. A few varieties can handle Zones 9 and 10, but most are better equipped for Zone 11 plus. They bloom once to three times per year, and flowers take two-years to show on new plants, so patience is a virtue when growing this tropical beauty.
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Sun and Water
Heliconias like it hot and humid, just like I do! They are best suited in full-sun in more northern areas and part-sun in the south. They won’t bloom without enough sun, which is easy enough to remedy by keeping them in a pot and moving it around until finding the perfect spot. Indoors, keep the Heliconia in the brightest and warmest place available. While the plant can survive in dry conditions, it won’t perform well. Heliconias prefer consistently moist soil, never boggy, but never allowed to completely dry out. This is a much easier feat in the heat of the summer where you’d naturally be watering potted plants almost daily. Indoors, take precaution to not overwater, as this will cause the roots to rot. Always hold back the water a bit in the wintertime, and this rings true with all plants that see their growth in the spring and summer.
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Soil and Food
Use a slow-release fertilizer to feed your Heliconia, every two months during the spring and summer growing season. They’ll also benefit from Black Cow being mixed in the soil, and as I always recommend, occasional dosing of Fish Emulsion (in lieu of traditional fertilizer, not in addition to). Yes, manure and fish guts are the way to go for happy plants, and I swear by both of them. Pay particularly close attention to the type of soil used, making sure that it’s well-draining and acidic. Aside from that, Heliconias benefit from peat moss being added into their soil, as well as other organic matter like bark chips. If you spend a little extra time preparing an organic, well-draining soil with good moisture retention, your Lobster-Claw will reward you with glossy foliage and bountiful yearly blooms. Generally speaking, most Heliconias are considered heavy feeders.
The Lobster-Claw dislikes cold conditions, and anything under 50 degrees is too chilly. It’s equally important to keep your plant in a sheltered location out of the way of strong winds or violent downpour. Additionally, it’s extremely important to provide constant humidity. This can be achieved in several ways. For my plants, I keep them indoors in groups. I place their plant in a saucer filled with pebbles, that I keep water in at all times. During the coldest months when the heater is really drying out the air, I also mist them with a spray bottle. It’s also possible to use a humidifier and to keep the plants close by.
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Pruning and Propagation
Always remove spent leaves on the Lobster-Claw. That’s the only pruning necessary. Heliconias spread via underground rhizome, so propagation is as simple as dividing the clump. Just make sure to leave a complete rhizome with eye intact. Always cut back shoots to six-twelve inches before planting a new Heliconia. Plant with the eye side up, near the surface of the soil. Like the Bird of Paradise, Heliconias often grow better when a bit pot bound. It’s possible to plant Heliconia from seed, as well. I’ve managed to germinate them successfully a couple of times, but have never managed to keep the tender seedling alive for very long.
For anyone outside of the tropics, I highly recommend growing Heliconia in a pot year round. It makes it much simpler for finding that perfect sunny, hot, humid, but sheltered location outside during the summer, and then that bright, warm location inside during the winter. Digging and storing the rhizomes in cold storage isn’t a feasible option for Heliconia. Instead, you must treat it as a houseplant overwinter and mimic its outside care by providing light (sunny window or grow lamp), heat, and humidity.
Pests and Disease
While I personally have never encountered any pest or disease, it’s said that Heliconias can suffer from fungus problems. Always ensure there’s good airflow between plantings to minimize the opportunity for fungus to grow. If you are unfortunate enough to run into this issue, use a chemical fungicide. Aphids and slugs are also a possibility. While outdoors, spray the leaves down with water ever so often to knock off any unwanted critters. This is also helpful in providing humidity outdoors during the dry, arid part of summer. Raid House and Garden has worked wonders for me in the past, in dealing with bugs.
Where to Buy
Lowe’s often carries Heliconia during the summer months. Additionally, Amazon, Plant Delights, Etsy, Glasshouse Works, and Aloha Tropicals all sell Heliconia, with the latter two offering the largest selection.
Commonly Grown Varieties
There are tons of varieties of Heliconia, especially considering all of the hybrids. Below are the most commonly grown, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s important to point out that hardiness is relative when talking about Heliconia. Micro-climates, exceptionally mild winters, effort, and gardening expertise allow many people to grow blooming Heliconias year round, even in growing Zones as low as 7. As such, one gardener might suggest you try X form because it comes back reliably for him each year, while another gardener might suggest you try form XX. In the end, to stay on the safe side, remember that there are no hardy Heliconia. Zip, zilch, nada. Since I’m a lazy gardener, I try and not recommend trying things that take an enormous amount of effort. If you desire to overwinter Heliconia outdoors, do so with the understanding that the odds aren’t really in your favor. Who knows? You might get lucky!
Rostrata stays about 5 feet tall when grown in a pot, but can get 15 foot tall in its native environment! It flowers year round.
Psittacorum stays a tidy 3 feet tall in pots, under most circumstances. Outside of the tropics, it will most likely only bloom during spring and summer, although it’s possible that it could bloom year round with an ideal indoor location.
Bourgaeana grows nearly eight feet tall, but probably will top out at five when potted. Like psittacorum, it’ll most likely bloom during the growing season only, but can possibly bloom year round.
Wagneriana grows between six to eight feet tall under perfect conditions. This is one of the largest, even for pots. Wagneriana blooms year round.
As you can see, there are so many beautiful Lobster-Claw plants to choose from! Add height and tropical appeal to your garden design by incorporating a couple different varieties of Heliconia. Even when not in bloom, these are interesting architectural plants that’ll impress. Make sure you’re following us for more tropical gardening posts plus much more!
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Heliconia Species, Crab Claws, False Bird of Paradise, Hanging Claw
Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Partial to Full Shade
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Where to Grow:
Can be grown as an annual
Suitable for growing in containers
Unknown – Tell us
Flowers are good for cutting
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Unknown – Tell us
Late Spring/Early Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Unknown – Tell us
Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
Unknown – Tell us
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
Unknown – Tell us
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Boca Raton, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)
Hollywood, Florida(2 reports)
Lake Worth, Florida
Miami, Florida(2 reports)
New Port Richey, Florida
North Miami Beach, Florida
Orlando, Florida(2 reports)
Pompano Beach, Florida(2 reports)
Punta Gorda, Florida
Satellite Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii
Orchidlands Estates, Hawaii
Vieques, Puerto Rico
San Antonio, Texas
St John, Virgin Islands