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Bird of paradise
Invite this elegantly clad bird into your garden, and you'll delight in festive blossoms year-round. Bird-of-paradise forms 3- to 5-foot-tall clumps of leathery leaves. The flower stalks are actually a combination of blue petals and orange petal-look leaves that emerge from a beaklike leaf structure. Count on the blossoms to last for a couple of weeks. Bird-of-paradise's long-lasting foliage and upright nature is especially useful in mixed borders as it provides energy and texture. And because it rarely sheds foliage, it's good for poolside planting.
Plant bird-of-paradise in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. Its success often depends on adequate moisture during the six months after planting. Water it regularly so the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
Part Sun, Sun
8 to 20 feet
To 15 feet wide, depending on type
more varieties for Bird of paradise
Orange bird of paradise
(Strelitzia reginae) offers brilliantly colored flowers on 3-foot-tall stalks in winter, spring, and summer. It grows 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Zones 10-11
White bird of paradise
(Strelitzia nicolai) grows like a tree with a fan of large 5-foot-long leaves. It produces white flowers in spring and grows 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Zones 10-11
plant Bird of paradise with
Daylilies are so easy to grow you'll often find them growing in ditches and fields, escapees from gardens. And yet they look so delicate, producing glorious trumpet-shape blooms in myriad colors. In fact, there are some 50,000 named hybrid cultivars in a range of flower sizes (the minis are very popular), forms, and plant heights. Some are fragrant.The flowers are borne on leafless stems. Although each bloom lasts but a single day, superior cultivars carry numerous buds on each scape so bloom time is long, especially if you deadhead daily. The strappy foliage may be evergreen or deciduous.Shown above: 'Little Grapette' daylily
Make a bold statement in your garden with kangaroo paw. This unusual perennial comes from Australia and bears strappy green leaves and upright spikes of fuzzy flowers in radioactively brilliant colors. The blooms last a long time and make great cut flowers.
Punctuate a hedge of pittosporum with a vibrant planting of bird-of-paradise.
The leaves look like chives and if you walk by a planting of this South African native bulb and brush the foliage, you'll catch a whiff of garlic. The beautiful clusters of lavender-pink flowers have a sweet fragrance, similar to hyacinth perfume. They open up on tall stems from early summer until late fall. Noted for its drought tolerance, society garlic has become a staple in southern California landscapes.
The curvaceous leaves of tree philodendron, a tropical plant, are a pleasing complement to bird-of-paradise's spiky outline.