Florida’s Bird of Paradise Blooms Contain a Secret. Do You Know What it Is?
Florida is often found in its unique flora and fauna, but the secret of the Bird of Paradise bloom eludes all but the curious. Gardens are flourishing here in the Land of Flowers; mossy greens of low lying ground cover complement the shiny fichus leaves that glitter in the morning sun like dozens of broken mirrors. The deep purples and blues of the Dixie Iris nod their heads to the proud reds of the Powderpuff Mimosa and both blend well with the daisy-like yellow of Tickseed. The Bird of Paradise plant produces a waxy tropical bloom that outshines them all.
Bird of Paradise flowers grow in abundance in south Florida. Colorful and low-maintenance, most people cut the long stalks and put them in a tall vase to enjoy indoors and throw them out when the flower dies.
The blooms are long lasting. Extending the life of the Bird of Paradise flower pod is easy if you know it’s secret: even when the little wispy orange and blue “leaves” start to die, they never fall out because they’re attached to a hidden flower below (sometimes two pop out together). In their wild state, a new flower pops out as an old one dies, extending the pollination period. There are usually three or four flowers per pod.
After the first flower dies, gently open the split that runs the length of the long, triangular pod where the flower pops out and coax a new one out by holding the pod with the sides of your thumbs on either side of the split. Apply a bit of pressure and gently prod the next Bird of Paradise bloom out with gentle flicks of a fingernail until it is about halfway out. Allowing it to rest, carefully pull on the spent flower, removing each dead petal, allowing the new bloom to rise taller and move into the empty space.
The bloom of the Bird of Paradise reminds us all that there is hidden beauty when you look deeper and brings to mind some Old Testament scripture:
“He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light.” Job 28:11