Giant bird of a paradise is a striking specimen that combines lush green foliage with spectacular white flowers to add year-round interest to Florida home gardens.
Also known as white bird of paradise, the giant variety grows much larger than its more familiar, orange-flowered cousin, occasionally soaring to 30 feet in height with a 15-foot spread. The upright trunks resemble those of palm trees and are topped with groups of large, grayish green, banana-like leaves. The flowers emerge above the foliage and are sometimes as much as 18 inches long. They are composed of numerous gray or white sepals arranged around a central bluish-purple body, or “tongue.”
Giant bird of paradise thrives in almost any well-drained, average soil. Although it will grow in full sun, specimens planted in areas that receive a few hours of filtered shade daily grow more quickly and display more intense color. Moderately drought tolerant, this plant prefers uniformly moist soils. Choose a sheltered location, as high or persistent winds can sometimes shred the serrated leaves. Cold hardy to 28 degrees, white bird of paradise is susceptible to minor frost damage during cold snaps but recovers quickly.
Use fast-growing giant bird of paradise to fill flowerbeds around new construction, as a specimen tree, or in pairs to flank doorways. Its tropical appearance and lack of leaf litter make it an ideal backdrop for spas and swimming pools.