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Which Bird of Paradise?

There are two very different plants that are both called "Bird of Paradise". As Norm Schilling explains one plant is from the tropics and the other is from the desert.

Norm Schilling is the owner of Schilling Horticulture Group.


Tropical or Traditional Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)...note the big leaves. This plant needs lots of shade (especially in the afternoon), moist soils, organic mulch and protection from winds (close to a wall or tucked in a shady corner) in order to thrive.


Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), has much smaller leaflets and brilliant red-orange flowers. This desert-adapted plant loves hot weather and lots of sun, but it can take some shade too. For best results, plant this desert species only in warm weather, from May through August.