Bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is an unusual flower, named for its resemblance to a bird's head. The flower head is made up of several blooms that shape the lines of a beak, head and neck. Bird-of-paradise is a tropical flower that adds blues, oranges and reds to an arrangement. These flowers grow on long, solid stalks and have long, slender leaves that grow from the bottom of the stalk. If properly cared for, they will last one to two weeks in a vase.
Remove any wrapping and cut off half an inch of stem under warm water. Use a sharp, smooth-bladed knife and cut the stem at an angle.
Remove the leaves by peeling them backwards off the stem. Leaves below the waterline cause the water to grow bacteria faster.
Add the flower to a vase that contains lukewarm water and water conditioner -- packets usually come with the flowers when purchased. Follow the package instructions but one packet per vase is generally fine.
Freshen the flower daily by emptying and rinsing the container, recutting the stem and replacing the water. Cutting the stem again encourages water to continue entering the plant, therefore prolonging its vase life.
Flower retailers should store bird-of-paradise at 55 to 70F.