Strelitzia nicolai, Giant White Bird of Paradise Flower, is not as often encountered as Stelitzia reginae but is every bit as magnificent. Considerably larger, it is capable in its South African habitat of reaching an extraordinary 10-12m in height and with its magnificent paddle-shaped grey-green foliage it makes an impressive plant. In a large container its dimensions are restricted to a more manageable size and is a perfect houseplant for a well-lit conservatory. It requires a warm aspect and regular watering to produce the exotic white and blue flowers that emerge from its dark purple-blue bracts and this can be encouraged by frequent liquid feeds during the growing season.
In the summer months it can be taken outside but should be placed in a shady aspect for at least 10-14 days to harden off the foliage and avoid scorching. Similarly, when it flowers, it is often best to situate the container in semi-shade to avoid the blooms burning in the sun. Bring indoors again at the end of September or beginning of October depending on the weather.
|Synonyms||Strelitzia alba subsp. nicolai, Strelitzia quensonii|
|Geographical Origin||South Africa: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal; Mozambique|
|Cultivation||Sun or semi-shade in a warm sheltered location. Deep rich soil. Best in a container in the UK. Makes a spectacular houseplant that can be taken outside during the summer months. Water less in winter|
|Hardiness||Tender in the UK. Needs to be brought indoors out of the frost. Ideal in the conservatory or sun-room in winter. Take outdoors after the frosts and ensure it hardens off in the shade for 14 days to avoid scorching|
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