PLANT PROFILE: Strelitzia / Birds of Paradise
Common Name: Strelitzia, Birds of Paradise, Crane Flower
Scientific/Botanical Name: Strelitzia Reginae
Origin: Eastern coastlines of South Africa
Watering: Throughout the warmer summer months the soil should be kept moist but not wet. During the cooler winter months let the soil dry out between each watering. This plant does not like to have wet feet so if you have it inside, let all the water drain out of the pot before putting it back to its spot, try not to let it sit in its run-out water.
Climate: Strelitzia prefer a warm climate but can tolerate temperatures as low as 13 degrees C.
Sunlight: Like most plants, this one needs a lot of bright yet indirect sunlight. So if you have a shady but bright garden or a perfect bright spot indoors away from the harsh afternoon sun you will find this plant with thrive. Too much sunlight or direct sunlight can lead to burning of the plant, specifically damaging the flowers.
How does the Plant go with pets?
If your furry family member likes to eat your plants, know that this is mildly toxic for cats and dogs when eaten in large amounts! So do not panic if you see they have nibbled a leaf or two.. just be aware they may experience a little vomiting or diarrhea.
How big does the plant grow?
If you want a big outdoor plant for a semi-shady section of your garden, these plants will be perfect for you, growing to a height approximately 6ft or more! For those who are loving these plants but want to keep it indoors, do not worry, they can be contained and indoors often reach a smaller height of 3ft tall.
Flowering: Flowering can occur at multiple times throughout the year if the plant is really feeling the love and being taken good care of. That being said, if you have a young plant, it can take up for three years before it will produce flowers but once it does flower you’ll know that it was worth the wait to see these bright orange, colourful flowers!
Fertilizer: The Strelitzia can be fertilized once every two weeks during spring and summer and once per month in winter and autumn.
Repotting: If you can see that the roots are starting to escape and grow out of the bottom of your pot, in late winter, it’s best to repot it into a slightly bigger pot.
- Browning of leaves – If the leaves feel crunchy to touch this may be due to under watering. If they feel soft and squishy to touch this may be a result of over watering, so cut back on the water and the plant should bounce back nicely!
- Not producing flowers- If your plant is not the happiest or it has just gone through a stage of under or over watering, it may take time to recover in order to produce flowers again. Otherwise check your lighting, if it’s not receiving quite as much as light as it wants, it may preserve it’s emerging into its current leaves rather than trying to produce new foliage or flowers.
Little Fun Facts
The stems of this magnificent plant are actually designed to support the weight of birds that eat their nectar, without bending or breaking
The common names “Birds of Paradise” and “Crane Flower” actually come from the look of the flowers. The opening of the green area on the flower is said to represent a bird beak and the bright flowers that protrude from the “beak” represent the feathers on top of a cranes head.