Giant white bird of paradise plant growing tips and photos. The tropical bird of paradise tree is much larger and more tender than the orange bird of paradise bush.
Strelitzia nicolai vs. Strelitzia alba.
Giant bird of paradise plants cast dramatic shadows on a painted wall and form a backdrop for smaller shrubs and annuals at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida.
The leaves of the tropical bird of paradise are somewhat leathery. They are the same size, shape and texture of banana plant leaves.
They are dark green and shiny on top with bright green to silvery, dull undersides.
Because of their upright growth habit, the leaf undersides are much more visible.
The silvery leaf undersides are more noticeable in this photo.
Also, like banana leaves, Strelitzia leaves will shred when exposed to strong wind.
Giant bird of paradise plant growing between 2 single story homes.
This plant can put on 2 feet of top growth per year where growing conditions favor it, eventually reaching a height of 30 feet.
Plant it where you want something the size of a small tree.
I think it is too large for most small yards and would advise you to plant the smaller Strelitzia reginae against single story buildings instead.
Plants are often sited against masonry walls.
This is a great way to grow them as the wall will protect the tender plants from cold and wind.
The variegated shrubs growing between the birds are Scheffleras.
Strelitzias are South African, clump-forming members of the Musa genus which grow from an underground corm.
New pups are constantly springing up around the older stems. If these are not removed, the clump will be clothed to the ground in tropical foliage.
As the plants mature, they form sturdy trunks which are sometimes partially hidden by the leaves of the young stems.
Give it moist, highly organic soil that is free draining. It can be grown as a foliage plant in sun or bright shade. If you want it to bloom, plant it in at least part day sun.
Feed the white bird of paradise in spring, summer and fall with an organic fertilizer.
Avoid moving it once it has become established.
The white bird of paradise is a stunning indoor tree for large, brightly lit rooms with high ceilings. Plant it in a tub and do not shift it into larger quarters until it is hopelessly root bound. This is also the best time to divide the clump.
Root restriction encourages bloom in this plant.
Wheel the tub outdoors and water it freely during warm weather.
Resist the temptation to remove it from the container and plant it in the ground for the summer as you might when growing a banana plant.
Bananas will tolerate this sort of handling.
Strelitzias will resent the root disturbance.
If you want your potted bird to look as if it is growing in the ground, sink the container into the soil to its rim and lift it in the fall.
The white bird of paradise enters a type of semi-dormancy during cold weather. Keep it in bright light but do not feed it during this time. Apply only enough water to keep the soil from drying out.
These bold blooms may appear on mature plants anytime during summer or fall.
The "beak" potrion of the flower will be green or blue with either snowy white or white and purple "plumage".
Home gardeners do not cultivate Strelitzia nocolai for its flowers (which tend to hide amongst the foliage and are not as showy as those of Strelitzia reginae) but for its green to glaucous canna-leaves and imposing presence in the landscape.
The 6 inch blooms are an added bonus.
On outdoor plants, the flowers will occur at too great a height to impress strollers.
The blooms on this plant may be best appreciated from this second story window.
If you can manage to cut them, they will last nearly 2 weeks if conditioned by standing overnight in water. The cut blooms can also be dried by standing their stalks in a dry vase.
Plants grown indoors will need 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day in order to bloom. Night temperatures in the 50s F. are also conducive to flower production.
The flowers also give the strongest clue to gardeners trying to identify their Strelitzia.
Strelitzia nicolai blooms in multiples on branching stalks. The flowers of the less common Strelitzia alba occur singly on stalks which do not branch. S. alba's blooms are solid white while S. nicolai's blooms may be pure white or white and blue.
Strelitzia nicolai also blooms much more reliably which may, in part, account for its greater popularity.
S. alba matures to a height of 18 feet vs S. niclai's 30 foot stature.
If you care only for the foliage, S. alba may be better to use in small yard landscape designs.
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