Plant of the Week: Strelitzia nicolai
White Bird of Paradise

Strelitzia nicolai

Strelitzia nicolai is a native of subtropical South Africa. When I first started growing this plant it was only 3 feet tall. Now, it reaches the top of the greenhouse at 15 feet! In nature they will get to 25 feet.

Blooming Time: They may bloom anytime of the year. The flowers are 12 inches long. The flowers have 3 sepal and 3 petals, and resemble birds of paradise on the wing.

Culture: Strelitzia nicolai are quite vigorous growers requiring part shade to full sun. The night temperatures should not fall below 50 degrees with day temperatures of 65 degrees or higher. The compost should consist of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand. The plant can withstand some drought, but it grows best if kept evenly moist. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. Once the plant has reach a desirable height, you should fertilize yearly at full strength.

Propagation: Strelitzia nicolai are propagated by division or by seed. Divisions of offshoots from the main plant grow vigorously. Seeds are very slow to germinate and may take up to 18 months. Place seeds in sterilized sand and keep moist with a bottom temperature of 68-70 degrees. They need to be in total darkness. Once seeds have sprouted, transplant them into individual pots.

Strelitzia nicolai was featured as Plant of the Week January 28-Febuary 3, 2000.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.