Strelitzia Nicolai (Bird of Paradise Flower) growing kit


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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-like plant with long sturdy trunks and large leaves, but my real plant family is the Strelitziaceae.

Where do I come from?
I originally come from South Africa, but I was first shipped to many other countries in the 18th century. I only got this name here in Europe. The wife of the English King George the 3rd , Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, with a great love for plants led to my name.

How big will I get?
I am a real beauty, and you won't easily miss me! My simple stem topped with a comb consisting of graceful orange bracts each with two or three blue royal leaves makes many a neck turn. I have a unique appearance, and there is really nothing that looks like me!

My woody trunks can reach a gigantic height of up to 6 meters in their natural habitat, my leaves can grow 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 large plant!

How much do I want to drink?
I am very thirsty in the summer, so give me so much water that my soil only dries up again after a week. It is important to prevent my roots from standing in water, as 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 like to get a nice misting every once in a while, this helps remove the dust from my leaves so that the sunlight can reach my leaves better.

Where do I want to stand and what temperatures do I like?
I love light, and preferably as much light as possible! Always put me in front of a window, preferably fully south-facing in winter! I am one of the few houseplants that is also grown by professional growers under direct sunlight. Too little sunlight makes my leaves ugly and my growth is poor.

Because I love the sun, I can also handle the heat well. However, I don't like the cold, so make sure the temperature does not drop below 10 degrees.