This Month’s Bird of Paradise Bouquet Was Grown in the Highlands of Costa Rica, at an Altitude of over 5000 Feet, near San Jose, the Capital of Costa Rica.
This month’s bouquet is the Bird of Paradise Bouquet. The entire flower resembles a bird in flight, with its combination of blue and yellow petals when in full bloom. Even the flower head of this flower bears a striking resemblance to the head of an exotic bird. The petals emerge from the beak-like bract and can be expected to last up to two weeks.
Admirers around the world have given it names in their native tongues that reflect its mimicry of bird life. The scientific name (Strelitzia Reginae) means “queenly strelitzia,” and while generally considered a tropical plant, it’s a native of South Africa, closely related to the banana.
Today, it is grown chiefly for commercial purposes in California, Costa Rica and Hawaii. It is cultivated as an ornamental in warmer regions, and also as a greenhouse plant. It is sold mainly as a florist cut flower and is utilized extensively in exotic arrangements with the brilliant blue, yellow and orange blossoms being the focal point of some of the most lavish of floral displays.
A spectacular blossom, long-stemmed flowers emerge from green boat-shaped bracts which are usually bordered in red and/or purple. The many-pointed petals of brilliant colors contrast with an arrow-shaped tongue that is usually blue or white.
Each individual flower has several “sets” of flowers in each bract, which are formed down the ends of the stalk. Even as cut flowers, the succession of blooming will continue to occur and will last for days if the water is faithfully changed regularly.
Not only are the blossoms impressive, but the leaves are, as well. An individual leaf in nature can easily reach 2 feet in length. They are leathery and banana-shaped, blue-grey in color, with either pale or reddish midribs.
Known to be slow-growing but highly treasured, the Bird of Paradise plant can reach up to 5 feet in height, with a stunning 2 to 3 foot “wingspan”.
A BIRD IN THE HAND IS SO EASY!
Really wish you could keep this bird captive for a while? It is possible, and it is SO simple . . . These Birds of Paradise blooms can be dried for use in your lasting arrangements. Take a flower stalk and/or leaf stalk, and crush the cut end. Place that end into 4 or 5 inches of water solution containing 1 part glycerine and 2 parts water. As the glycerine penetrates the stem and leaf, expect the color to change a bit, and the glycerine will begin to “ooze” at the edges. (This usually happens in 7 to 10 days.) When the stalk is thoroughly saturated, simply remove and hang it up-side-down until it is completely dried. You can then enjoy this Bird for weeks to come!
SPECIAL CARE OF YOUR Bird of Paradise Bouquet
FOR MAXIMUM ENJOYMENT:
1) Unpack and remove the net protection on the bracts. Immerse in cool tap water for about 10 minutes. Cut about 1/2″ off each stem, under water, at a 45° angle. (This prevents the cut end from resting flat on the bottom of the vase, which inhibits absorption.) Use a very sharp knife to prevent stem damage. Remove lower foliage that will fall below the water line.
2) Place flowers in a sparkling clean vase, and fill it with room temperature fresh water. (Reverse osmosis or rain water is best.)
3) Mist the flower heads daily with room temperature water to keep them hydrated.
4) Display your arrangement away from direct sunlight and drafty areas.
5) Change the water and re-cut the stems every 2 days to ensure a longer life.