Spring Has Sprung, Only 2.5 Years Late

Meets shoots and leaves

Shortly after I moved to California, I went to Home Depot one cold winter night and bought some plants for my balcony.  One was a Birds of Paradise.  It has always been one of my favorite plants, because it looks like a creature.  I also love the orange and blue color combo (“opposite colors,” for those who know about such things).  And it felt like a local plant, because I see so many of these in the area.

But for the past two and a half years, my Birds of Paradise were one color: green.  All I got were the leaves and stalks, no flowers.  I had watered them and used Miracle Gro, but otherwise am a bit of a black thumb.  After the first year, I went back to the guy at Home Depot (who, by the way, claims and is said to be extremely knowledgeable about plants) and asked, “what’s up with my no flower flowers?”  He said that Birds of Paradise can be temperamental when brought to a new home (they are creatures, after all), and that it was perfectly normal for them not to have flowered after a year.

Then another year went by, and still no flowers.  By then I gave up hope of having these Birds.  But about six months ago, the stalks started growing taller and stronger.  Coincidentally, I stopped using the Miracle Gro a few months ago when the blue powder got all gnarly and ate through the box and the two layers of aluminum foil and Gorilla Tape that I had added to the bottom of the box because that Miracle Gro sure likes to eat its own home.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, as the photo above indicates, I noticed that my Birds have finally started emerging from their nest.

This is very exciting and by now totally unexpected.  I’m really looking forward to my creatures, and to flying the “local” colors.

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3 Replies to “Spring Has Sprung, Only 2.5 Years Late”

  1. Miracle Gro has a lot of nitrogen. Many plants react to abundant nitrogen by focusing on growing more leaves, leaving less energy available to devote to flowers.

    I don’t know whether bird of paradise is that type of plant, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  2. @Tim, that might be what happened here. In addition, when I was purchasing the Miracle Gro, a well-intentioned yet creepy lady walked by, looked in my cart, and said cryptically that it causes aphids. And, as aforementioned, it’s rough on its own container and, over time, digging the messy stuff out of the box becomes unpleasant. So any which way, I don’t think I’ll be buying it anymore.

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