Strelitzia nicolai (Giant White Bird of Paradise)

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Scientific Name

Strelitzia nicolai Regel & K.Koch

Common Names

Giant White Bird of Paradise, Natal Wild Banana, Wild Banana, Natal Strelitzia, Wild Strelitzia

Synonyms

Strelitzia alba subsp. nicolai, Strelitzia quensonii

Scientific Classification

Family: Strelitziaceae
Genus: Strelitzia

Flower

Color: White and bluish-purple
Bloom Time: Spring to summer

Description

Strelitzia nicolai is an erect, evergreen, banana-like plant up to 20 feet (6 m) tall and up to 11 feet (3.3 m) wide, with erect, woody stems. The leaves are grey-green up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long and arranged like a fan at the top of the stems. The inflorescence is composed of a dark blue bract, white sepals and a bluish-purple “tongue”. The entire flower can be up to 7.2 inches (18 cm) tall, up to 18 inches (45 cm) long and is typically held just above the point where the leaf fan emerges from the stem. It flowers throughout the year with a peak in spring to summer. Flowers are followed by triangular seed capsules.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Bird of Paradise are easier to grow than many tropical plants. The plant is a vigorous, rapidly growing indoor plant. They can be moved outside in the summer, and in warmer climes, will thrive for half the year outside. They typically flower in the late winter or early spring, but under optimal conditions, will flower at various times.

Strelitzia is a genus of about 5 or 6 species (depending on who you listen to). Strelitzia reginae is the most well known species and is frequently grown as house plants. It is a beautiful plant and can be very successfully grown inside. The biggest drawback is typically its size (they grow up to 5 feet/1.5 m) and the fact that plants need 3 to 5 years before they will flower. They work well in massed plantings or as specimen plants, and their flowers will rise above the foliage for an impressive display. The trick to successful growth is providing lots of bright light (with some gentle direct sun), water, warmth and food…. – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Bird of Paradise Flower

Origin

It is restricted to evergreen coastal forest and thicket of eastern South Africa from the Great Fish River northwards to Richards Bay. It is also considered native to Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

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