Strelitzia – what kind of plant is it?
Strelitzia, (Strelitzia reginae) is a plant that one can easily identify thanks to its beautiful flowers. In nature, it grows in the Republic of South Africa along riverbanks. In its natural habitat, it can grow up to 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) tall, if the soil and location are good enough. But in most parts of the world, it’s grown as a houseplant.
Strelitzia is commonly known as bird of paradise plant. The name originated from the flowers that look like exotic birds’ plumes.
Bird of paradise – varieties you should know
Strelitzia has many varieties, so everyone can pick the best plant that matches their taste. Here are the most popular types of bird of paradise plant:
- Alba – also known as white strelitzia, its name is a result of the flowers that are white, unlike the original.
- Caudata – this variety has characteristic leaves that form a fan shape in the natural habitat.
- Juncea – its leaves are needle-like and can reach up to 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) in length.
Bird of paradise – plant care and needs
Strelitzia is a difficult plant. If you decide to have it in your home, make sure it has plenty of light, as it’s used to such conditions in the natural habitat. Additionally, remember to water it frequently and regularly.
A sunny location is essential if you want to see the stunning flowers of your bird of paradise plant. Lack of proper light, especially in winter, is quite risky for strelitzias. It might make their flowers die back. Regardless, keep in mind that a full-sun spot is also not recommended for strelitzias. Dispersed, soft light is the best option.
Here’s important information for those who want to have this exotic houseplant in their homes – it can be moved to a balcony or a patio in spring and summer. When taking it outdoors, make sure to pick a shaded location for the plant, to avoid harming it.
When planting a bird of paradise plant in a pot, take care of appropriate soil. Strelitzia requires fertile soil, it has to be heavy and clay-rich. A mixture of turf soil, clay garden soil and sand is a good alternative. Don’t forget to add some peat, too.
When picking a container for a bird of paradise plant, make sure to choose large pots with holes draining excess water. Also, make sure to add a drainage layer which provides water flow.
How to water bird of paradise plant?
Strelitzia reginae requires frequent and generous watering. It’s important that the plant has enough water, especially in summer – that’s when the plant develops flowers. You can decrease the frequency of watering from the beginning of September. In winter, strelitzia needs only small doses of water.
How frequently does strelitzia need feeding?
Bird of paradise needs a lot of nutrients. They are essential especially during the growth period. It means the plant has to be fed regularly with products of low nitrogen levels. Fertilize your bird of paradise from the beginning of March until the end of September every two weeks.
How to propagate bird of paradise?
Although the plant is difficult to maintain, its propagation is quite easy. Plan this process for early spring or when the plant finishes blooming. After dividing the rhizomes, you have to wait at least one year before the new seedlings develop flowers.
Bird of paradise flower can be propagated using its seeds as well. You can observe small fruits on the plant – they look like peas in black leathery husk. Inside, there are a lot of seeds that have to be planted right after harvesting. Put the seeds in a thermos filled with warm water for at least 12 hours, but no longer than 48 hours. After this time, they begin sprouting. Plants propagated this way bloom after 3-5 years.
Strelitzia – diseases and pests
The biggest threat to a bird of paradise plant is posed by its owner, who can make it wither or rot by incorrect watering.
A fungus called Phytophthora is another danger for strelitzia plants. It attacks the plant’s roots and leaf stems. The affected spots turn brown and rot. Roots attacked by the fungus have to be removed, and the plant needs strengthening with a special antifungal product.
Scale bugs are another threat for bird of paradise. They are small insects that like preying on the plant’s leaves, mainly on the bottom parts. The pest sucks the juices from the plant, causing the leaves to gradually turn yellow and die.
📍 What does strelitzia look like?
Strelitzia, or bird of paradise is characteristic for its flowers. A long stem develops a distinct green involucre. When in bloom, an orange-blue flower grows out of it. Because of the unusual shape and colors of the flowers, it's hard to confuse this plant with anything else.
📍 How fast does bird of paradise grow?
Strelitzia is a plant that requires time. Although it grows relatively fast, it needs from 3 to 5 years to amaze the owner with its flowers. It requires proper conditions, so every detail is important when taking care of it.
📍 When does bird of paradise bloom?
The plant blooms twice a year. The first blooming happens in early spring, around February. Summer is the resting season for the plant. Strelitzia may bloom again in September. But it's possible only if you provide the plant with good conditions.
📍 How to repot bird of paradise?
Repot the plant once every four years. Make sure to pick a large enough pot that will contain the complicated root system. Remember about a drainage layer that protects the plant's roots from standing in the water and rotting.