Botanical name: Strelitzia reginae, Strelitzia nicolai, Strelitzia alba
Other names: bird of paradise flower, parrot flower, strelitzia, strelitzia, royal strelitzia, tree strelitzia, white strelitzia, tree-like strelitzia, stemless strelitzia, natal strelitzia, bird of paradise flower
Use: houseplant, container plant, cut flower
Origin: South Africa
Flower colours: orange-blue, white
Flowering period: spring and summer
Special features:The colorful, large flowers bloom for many weeks. Ideally suited as a cut flower. With a blooming Strelizia you create a tropical atmosphere. The first flowers appear from the 3rd year. Older plants bloom reliably year after year in a sunny spot. Strelitzia nicolai is extremely attractive even without flowers and is often used as a decorative green plant in homes and offices.
Hardly any other flowering plant fascinates with such a unique blossom as the Strelizia. The genus has its origins in southern Africa, and the temperature requirements are corresponding. There are a total of five different types of tree-like and stemless Strelitzia. The main types available on the market are Strelitzia reginae, Strelitzia alba and Strelitzia nicolai. They differ mainly in growth habit and flower color. All species feel comfortable in the garden or on the balcony in summer, but can also be in the winter garden or on the windowsill all year round. Planting out in the ground is not recommended, as the Strelitzia genus is not hardy in our climate. A hibernation is advantageous for the development of flowers. During this time, the Strelizie needs less water and the substrate should dry well between the individual waterings.
In which location does the bird of paradise flower feel most comfortable?
Place your Strelitzia in an area with plenty of light and warmth. Direct sun is not a problem. from mid-May to the end of September, the exotic plant can be outdoors. Gradually acclimate the parrot flower to outdoor conditions, as burns can occur quickly. Clearing out is best done on a cloudy day. First place the pot in a semi-shady location, protected from rain. Once the beauty has gotten used to the new location, summer temperatures are no problem. It is important that the location is sheltered from the wind, as the large leaves tear easily in windy locations. For hibernation, the Strelizia should be lightand at temperatures between 8 and 12 °C. As a houseplant, it is also of great importance that the space is as bright as possible. Again, a dormant period in a room with lower temperatures is important for flowering.
Our gardening tip: Staying outdoors is necessary for flowering. If the Strelitzia is too dark, only a few or no flowers will be formed. Make sure you have a wind-protected place outdoors.
How do I water my Strelizie?
Bird of paradise flowers only need moderate watering. Planted out in the conservatory, the need for water is lower than with potted plants. The amount of water required depends on the size of the plant, the temperature and the substrate. It is important that the Strelitzia never experiences waterlogging, because according to its origin, this peculiarity is more used to drought. Make sure that the top layer of soil dries a little between each watering and pour off excess water. In the winter months, the water requirement is greatly reduced. Lime-poor water or rainwater is ideal for watering.
Our gardening tip: Make sure there is sufficient humidity. Regular spraying of the leaves with low-lime water will help against dry air and promote the health of the exotic plant. Curled leaves are a sign of lack of water.
How do I fertilize my Strelizie?
Fertilize your bird of paradise flower every 14 days from May to August with a high-quality flowering plant fertilizer. This contains the phosphorus, which is important for flower formation, in higher doses and less nitrogen. In this way you create the optimal conditions. Make sure that the fertilizer does not contain too much nitrogen, as this will result in strong leaf growth and the popular flowers will not appear. Dose the liquid fertilizer according to the instructions on the package and make sure that the Strelitzia does not dry out after fertilizing. For small specimens, the use of fertilizer sticks is possible. With this practical long-term fertilization your Strelitzia is for 2 to 3 monthswell taken care of. No additional nutrients are necessary in winter.
How do I prune my bird of paradise flower?
Regularly remove dried, brown leaves and faded flowers. Another cut is not necessary. If the Strelitzia is too big, it is possible that you shorten the special feature with a cut. But this care is not necessary. When cutting, make sure that you use sharp pruning shears or a knife and cut off the parts of the plant with a smooth cut if possible. Single blossoms for the vase can also be cut on blooming Strelitzia. So you can enjoy the refined beauty indoors for weeks.
Our tip: To ensure that no stubs are left behind, you can also tear off withered leaves. This has the advantage that it looks better optically and the remaining parts can be entry points for fungal diseases.
How do I repot my Strelitzia?
Newly purchased plants can initially be left in the pot. After 1 to 2 years it is advisable to repot the Strelizia for the first time. Make sure that the substrate is structurally stable and can store and release water well. Peat- free potting soil, which allows the Strelitzia to thrive magnificently with a pH value of 6.2, is ideal. Choose a pot that is 5 to 10 cm larger and first fill it with expanded clay drainage to prevent harmful waterlogging. Then put high-quality potting soil and the well-watered bird of paradise flower in the larger pot. It is repotted every 2 to 3 years.Please handle the roots with care. The fleshy storage organs break easily and if damaged, the plants may not bloom as lavishly. The ideal time to repot the Strelitzia is spring. With a higher supply of light, the bird of paradise flower continues to grow well after transplanting.
Our gardening tip: The parrot flower must be repotted as soon as the roots grow out of the drainage holes, the willingness to bloom decreases or the stability is no longer guaranteed.
How do I overwinter my Strelitzia reginae?
From October, you should place the parrot flower in as bright a place as possible with temperatures of 8 to 12 °C. It is important that the rarity does not get frost under any circumstances. A dark location is also unsuitable. Both in summer in the garden and in winter in the house, it is important that the maximum amount of light is offered. The evergreen plants also occasionally need water when they are dormant, but the need is lower than in summer during flowering and growth. Water carefully and make sure that the substrate dries off again and again.
Care instructions for overwintering:
- maximum light supply
- hibernate cold (there is no dormant phase at temperatures above 15 °C), frost-free, at around 10 °C
- regularly pour small amounts of lukewarm water
- no fertilization
- white bloom
- grows like a tree
- forms a small tribe
- Leaves are larger and significantly longer than Strelitzia reginae
- can grow 3 to 5 m high
Strelitzia nicolai – Tree Strelitzia
- flowers blue-violet-white
- Flowers are stacked (as if many boats are on top of each other)
- forms a small tribe
- Growth resembles a tree
- Leaves are significantly longer and larger than Strelitzia reginae
- can grow 3 to 5 m high
- Flowers are very large
Strelitzia reginae – King’s Strelitzia
- flowers blue-violet-orange
- Flowers are stacked (as if many boats are on top of each other)
- Leaves arise at the base and are just above the ground (basal leaf position)
- no trunk is formed
can grow up to 2 m high
What pests and diseases can Strelitzia get?
With the right site conditions and optimal care, Strelitzias are impressive plants with incomparable flowers. Problems can only arise in rare cases.
Rotting of the fleshy roots due to improper care is usually a problem. It is therefore important that the plant never suffers from waterlogging throughout the year. If there are problems with the roots, repotting is an option, after which you should take care of them carefully.
Brown, slightly curved bumps are found in the leaf axils and on the underside of the Strelitzia leaves. With these protective shields, the scale insects are safely hidden and are difficult to combat. Wipe the pests regularly. On strong plants, the infestation can usually be remedied without any problems. Biologically, you can prevent further spread with oil-based agents. It is important that you treat several times and that the room temperature is not too low. Especially when it is warm, the fight is effective.
Spider Mites (Red Spider)
The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to rinse the plants with warm water and treat them with a plant strengthener. This organic active agent contains natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. Make sure the humidity is high after the treatment. Control with a targeted use of beneficial insects is effective.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Bird of Paradise Flower
Often the lack of a dormant period is responsible for the lack of flowers. Make sure that the temperatures at the site are lowered for a few months in winter. Furthermore, a phosphorous fertilization for the formation of flowers is recommended. Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer allows Strelitzia to grow luxuriantly, but flowering is inhibited. A pot that is too small can also be a cause of missing flowers on parrot flowers.
How long does the bird of paradise flower bloom?
Depending on the type and location, the flowering time for Strelitzia is 4 to 6 weeks. Large specimens always have several flowers in a row and are therefore in bloom for months.
How does Strelitzia propagate?
Larger plants are ideal for division. Strelitzia should be propagated in spring if possible. Strelitzia offshoots should initially be warm and bright. The sections will establish quickly and, with proper care, will form new roots and leaves. Cultivation by seeds is also possible. When sowing, it is important that you soak the seeds in warm water for 48 hours beforehand.
Are Strelitzia poisonous?
The bird of paradise flower is considered slightly poisonous. It is therefore advisable to avoid the plants for particularly curious pets. However, the structure of the leaves and flowers makes nibbling quite unattractive.
Where did the Tree Strelitzia get its botanical name?
The tree strelitzia, known as Strelitzia nicolai, received the botanical suffix «Nicolai» in connection with Tsar Nicholas I (1796-1855). In the summer garden of St. Petersburg, a tree trelitzia bloomed in 1858.
Can a Strelitzia be kept in the house as a houseplant all year round?
Especially Strelitzia nicolai fascinates with attractive leaves even without flowers. The upright growing foliage is similar in growth to a banana plant. Thus, the Strelitzia is an attractive houseplant even without flowers.
What is the cause of brown leaves on Strelitzia?
Most of the time, too much water is the reason that Strelitzia gets brown leaves.
Why does the Strelitzia curl up its leaves?
Wrong location, draught, and too much sunlight are often the causes of rolled-up leaves on Strelitzia. In order to reduce the evaporation surface, the Strelitzia rolls up the leaves. Check the soil moisture and, if necessary, place the plant in a more sheltered position.