Giant Bird of Paradise Plant Care

We provided our Plantly friends with the Bird of Paradise care a while ago. Today we will look at the bigger cousin, the Strelitzia nicolai. The paradise flower has another exciting name, the White Bird of Paradise.

Both these plants are closely related, with some differences. So, without waiting, let’s look a bit closer at this indoor plant.

What is Strelitzia Nicolai?

Strelitzia nicolai

Yes, it is another beautiful indoor plant similar to the other Bird of Paradise. Yet, the shrub distinguishes itself from the Strelitzia reginae as it has a white bloom. The paradise plant you find in its natural habitat growing in Southern Africa.

The appearance is similar to its cousin, and the herbaceous perennial belongs to the banana plant species. Hence, the name Wild Banana Tree. Even the paradise plant leaves resemble the banana tree’s leaves.

As with the Brid of Paradise cousin, it also has a flower resembling a bird’s head with a beak that is the spathe. Another huge difference is that this paradise plant grows up to 30 feet tall. The elegant flowers grow from a dark green to grey/black spathe.

Paradise Plants Care

Strelitzia nicolai

The Bird of Paradise makes a bold statement when it does flower indoors. It is an easy caring houseplant with lush leaves. But remember, these paradise plants need space around them to grow.

The plant thrives outdoors and indoors well, given the proper tender loving care. Yet, it is a fast-growing plant. Another note of warning is that while it looks gorgeous, it is a toxic plant when ingested by small children and pets.

Suitable Potting Soil for Paradise Flowers

A suitable potting soil for the paradise bird is rich, well-draining soil that can be clay, loamy, or sandy. We recommend adding perlite for drainage if you use a general-purpose potting mix.

The container also needs enough drainage holes to let the excess water drain freely to prevent root rot. Bird of Paradise plants like its soil slightly acidic but must be kept moist.

One more suitable option is to use an organic potting mix.

Bird of Paradise Sunlight Needs

Strelitzia nicolai sunlight requirement

For proper care for light exposure, it needs enough light indoors. Growing outdoors, you can plant your paradise flowers in partial shade to full sun.

For indoor plants, please keep them in a spot with bright light. Yet, too much sun becomes a problem as the paradise leaves become scorched, leaving dark spots.

So, if you place your plant in direct sunlight, ensure that it also gets some shade.

Watering Requirement

Outdoor and indoor Bird of Paradise thrives in moist soil. But your paradise bird should not be left waterlogged. Instead, we recommend leaving the soil dry between watering. Providing too much water results in the roots rotting. Furthermore, watering also depends on how much sun it gets outdoors.

When standing outdoors in the direct light, this is a thirsty plant, and they are a bit drought tolerant. If they do not receive adequate water, it shows through the leaves turning yellow. While overwatering results in brown leaves becoming crisp.

Temperature & Humidity

Paradise needs warm temperatures as it is a tropical shrub. Ideally, the temperatures need to be between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18℃ and 27℃). The shrub is vigorous to tolerate cold winter months but not in freezing temperatures.

The plant outdoors can recover from frost damage, but it is a slow process and depends if the frost has damaged the roots. One crucial thing is humidity when caring for your perennial shrub.

To provide your White Bird with moisture, you can mist it occasionally, which also helps remove dust from the leaves. Doing this offers extra humidity for your tropical plant. At the same time, you can then wipe the leaves using a soft cloth.

Another great way to add moisture is using a pebble tray with water underneath your plant.

Feeding Needs of Strelitzia Nicolai

plant fertilizer

Strelitzia Nicolai needs regular feeds, especially during the growing season. Yet, not too much as it can burn the Bird of Paradise roots.

It is best to use a general-purpose fertilizer bi or tri-weekly from spring to summer. We recommend avoiding feeds in the fall and winter months.

At this time of the year, your plant is dormant and cannot take up the fertilizer’s nutrients.

Potting and Pruning

One thing is for sure grown indoors; it makes for outstanding decor. Still, the Bird of Paradise plant needs ample space to grow. You can expect to re-pot your shrub every three years, but perennial shrubs’ recommended transplant is yearly.

When you do it yearly, you can check the health of the roots more often as they can grow huge. In addition, you can re-pot less once it reaches maturity as they will bloom better when pot-bound. Lastly, as the plant grows big, it helps to remove damaged, dead, or yellowing leaves.

When you remove the unhealthy leaves as it appears, it allows your Bird of Paradise plant to use its energy to grow new leaf. The same applies to spent, dying, or dead flowers.

Propagating Your Strelitzia Nicolai

The best way to propagate Bird of Paradise plants is through division. Yet, while growing outdoors, your plant might even self-propagate. You can plant new seedlings using seed but not recommended as it is a lengthy process.

You need to divide the rhizomes during a re-potting session with the division method. Still, we do not recommend doing this often as the overcrowded clumps produce more flowers. Hence, you can separate the pups at the base and plant them in a grow pot about an inch larger than the root ball.

Then, place your smaller plant in bright indirect light for a few months until established and gradually move it to bright light.

Strelitzia Varieties

In the Strelitzia species, you find five varieties, with the Strelitzia Nicolai being one of them you can grow in your garden or a container.

Strelitzia alba

Strelitzia alba

The white-flowered banana plant blooms with white flowers with banana-like leaves from fall to winter in the northern hemisphere. The evergreen herbaceous perennial can grow up to 30-feet tall.

Strelitzia caudata

Strelitzia caudata

You find the mountain wild banana growing in South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. It has the flair of palm leaves, similar to some banana plants. It grows up to 20 feet tall with black-beaked to white tufted blooms.

Strelitzia juncea

Strelitzia juncea

The narrow-leaf bird of paradise plant looks like most other species, but the leaves are reed-like. It blooms orange to smaller blue flowers. When it reaches a mature height, it stands six feet tall and makes for gorgeous cut flowers.

Strelitzia reginae

Strelitzia reginae

It is one of the most beautiful Birds of Paradise species and grows at a manageable height indoors. It blooms orange clusters of flowers all year long. But it can suffer when temperatures drop below freezing point.

Diseases and Pests

One thing about the Brid of Paradise is that it is relatively resistant to disease and pests. Unfortunately, the leading cause of this plant’s death is fungal disease and rot. It happens when you overwater your plant or grow in soil with drainage problems.

Minor pest infestations are mealy bugs, aphids, and spider mites and do not cause significant harm to your plant. To treat these infestations, you can use a damp cloth with insecticidal soap to clean the foliage.

Frequently Asked Questions

This Bird of Paradise can reach up to 35-feet grown outdoors. But you can control the growth with some pruning indoors.

These shrubs produce a bloom once it’s matured, and it can take up to three years. At the same time, others can develop flowers only after six years.

When you compare all the Strelitzia species, both the S. albs and S. nicolai can grow tall up to 30-feet.

You can find the Strelitzia nicolai at your local garden center or get it from Plantly.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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