Who am I?
Hello, my name is Strelitzia Nicolai but I am also known as the bird of paradise plant or the wild banana. I owe these nicknames to the shape and color of my flowers. I am also a banana type plant with long sturdy trunks and large leaves, but my real plant family is the Strelitziaceae.
Where am I from?
Originally I am from South Africa, from the 18th century I first shipped to many other countries. I only got this name here in Europe. The wife of the English King George the 3rd, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, with a great fondness for plants gave rise to my name.
How big will I get?
I’m a real beauty, and you won’t easily overlook me! My simple stem topped with a comb of graceful orange bracts each with two or three blue royal leaves makes many a neck twist. I have a unique appearance, and there is nothing quite like me!
My woody trunks can reach a gigantic height of up to 6 meters in their natural habitat, my leaves are up to 1.8 meters in diameter and my flowers can grow up to 18cm by 45cm. However, I will not achieve these proportions in your living room, but I am a big plant!
How much do I want to drink?
In summer I am very thirsty, so give me so much water that my soil is dry again after a week. It is important to prevent my roots from standing in water, because this can cause rot in my roots. In winter I am less thirsty, but I still like to get water weekly, so reduce the amount.
I also love to get a nice spray once in a while, this helps remove the dust from my leaves so that the sunlight can better reach my leaves.
Where do I want to be and what temperatures do I like?
I love light, and preferably as much as possible! So always put me in front of a window, in winter preferably on the south! I am one of the few houseplants that is also grown by professional growers under direct sunlight. Too little sunlight makes my leaves look ugly and I don’t grow well.
Because I love the sun, I can also handle the heat well. However, I do not like the cold, so make sure that the temperature does not fall below 10 degrees.