Amazing orange and blue-violet blossoms evoking visions of soaring cranes growth from bird of paradise plants’ (Strelitzia reginae) broad, blue-green leaves. These 3- to 5-foot, clumping perennials anchor innumerable tropical and Mediterranean gardens out of their native South African habitat. Blooming intermittently through the year, birds of heaven bask in sunlight or partial shade across U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Proper companion plants enhance their color and kind, and share similar growing conditions.
Bird of heaven works best in well-drained, organically rich soil, but is not fussy about soil type. Its moderate salt tolerance makes it a fantastic choice for protected coastal locations. Full-sun plants have shorter stalks and smaller blooms than those grown in partial shade. Most bird of paradise flowers open on the outer lawns. For the strongest visual effect, allow lots of room between the plants and their companions.
Choose Business plants with colours which dramatize the bird of paradise plant orange and blue-violet colors. Organic opposites, orange and blue play off each other on the plants themselves and about their companions. Analogous, warm yellows, pinks and browns or cool purples, greens and blues teeming with each other and with all the bird of heaven. Selecting companions that bloom in different seasons always refreshes your garden’s look.
Combining background vines, shrubs or perennials taller than the bird of heaven with lower foreground plants unifies the lawn. For an eye-catching spring display, consider 12- to 15-inch Baby Pete (Agapanthus orientalis “Benfran” P.P. #21,705) for the foreground. A backdrop trellis or fence draped in yellow-flowering, semi-evergreen Carolina jessamine vine — suitable for USDA zones 7 though 9 — highlights the agapanthus’ clusters of clear-blue, tubular blooms. Baby Pete, hardy to USDA zones 8 through 11, retains its mounds of arching, strap-like green foliage all year.
“Orange King” bougainvillea vine (Bougainvillea x buttiana “Orange King”) enhances bird of heaven displays in USDA zoned 10 and 11 using its heavy masses of bronze-tinged, orange blooms. Highlight its flowers’ papery texture using a foreground planting of “Blue Hobbit” dwarf sea holly (Eryngium planum “Blue Hobbit”). Just 1 foot high, this perennial’s silver-blue stems bear blue, conical flowers enclosed in stiff, lance-like blue bracts. Drought-tolerant such as the bougainvillea, “Blue Hobbit” thrives in sunlight and coastal conditions. It’s hardy in USDA zones 4 through 11.
Insert haunting apricot fragrance to your bird-of-paradise bed using “Conger Yellow” sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans “Conger Yellow”). This evergreen, 10- to 15-foot shrub, suitable for a privacy screen or ornamental background hedge, has delicate spring and drop clusters of star-shaped, buttery-yellow blooms against deep-green foliage. For a festive touch, combine the sun-loving tree using foreground plantings of grassy-leaved, brilliant-orange torch-flowering “Mango Popsicle” dwarf poker (Kniphofia “Mango Popsicle” P.P.A.F.) intermingled with mounding, royal-purple-flowered Anouska Princess Lilies (Alstroemeria x “Zaprinous” P.P.# 15987). Both perennials flower from spring to fall. The sweet olive oil and 12- to 15-inch alstroemeria grow in USDA zones 8 through 11, and the dwarf poker at USDA zones 5 through 9.