Strelitzia juncea 'Spoons' (Spoon-leafed Bird of Paradise) – A selection or possible hybrid of the typically leafless form of Bird of paradise that is slightly smaller and has small spoon shaped leaves at the tips of the petioles. It is an evergreen perennial that slowly forms ever larger clumps of rhizomes from which emerge 3 to 4 long bluish-green narrow stalks with small, rounded blue-green leaves at the tips - different from the typical Strelitzia reginae that has longer broader green leaves but also different from typical Strelitzia juncea that lacks a leaf at the tip of the petiole. As with these others, this plant has orange and blue flowers that rise from reed-like, grayish leaf stalks up to 6 ft. tall that appear at various times from spring on to fall. These stalks bear flowers of a most interesting floral structure with hard, beak-like green sheath-like bracts (technically a spathe) held singly at a right angle at the tip of the stalks. From this spathe, which can be 6 to 8 inches long and tinged on the upper surface with a pale pink color, emerge the flowers one at a time to display 3 brilliantly orange-colored sepals and 3 blue petals, two of which are fused into a long arrow like structure and the third cupped downward as a nectary. Individual flowers last about a week and the spathe holds 5 to 7 flowers and so are showy over a prolonged flowering period.
Plant in full sun or part shade in a well-drained soil and water only occasionally. This plant is hardy for short duration freezes down to 24° F but flowers and buds may be damaged by freezing temperatures.
We have grown this plant form many years within our crop of Strelitzia juncea and noted that this selection has consistently remained smaller. It is an unusual form of an already interesting and attractive plant and great as a small specimen in the dry garden or in a large pot. The flowers are attractive on the plant and great for cut flower use, lasting up to two weeks. Strelitzia juncea has previously been considered a variety of Strelitzia reginae or was listed as a variety of Strelitzia parvifolia, which is now considered a synonym for Strelitzia reginae. Evidence was produced after extensive studies in 1974 by Dr. Hendrik Albertus van de Venter at the University of Pretoria in South Africa that confirmed the specific status of Strelitzia juncea. Dr. van de Venter noted that there are genetic differences between S. juncea and S. reginae and that intermediate forms exist that could be hybrids between the two species – it is a distinct possibility that this plant is one these such hybrids – for more information on these two species see our listing for Strelitzia juncea and for Strelitzia reginea .
Information about Strelitzia juncea 'Spoons' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.