Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) - Expert tips
How to care for Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise plant) - Care tips for houseplants
The Bird of Paradise plant, also known as Strelitzia, is a tropical houseplant with large, brightly coloured flowers that look like exotic birds. Any plant enthusiast will be blown away by its unique flower! The leaves on a Strelitzia can be large and shaped like banana leaves or paddles. This is why it really gives your home that jungle feeling.
Whether you are a newbie or experienced with growing plants, you’ll have no problem taking care of this plant. The key to its success is light! Give it enough light and watch it flourish. She also loves to grow in height, so when you give her the right spot, she can become 2 to 3,5 meters.
The Strelitzia is from the family of Strelitziaceae and is native to South Africa. This is a family of three genera of plants, the Strelitzia, the Ravenala and the Phenakospermum. The most common for us houseplant lovers is the Strelitzia, of course. The Strelitzia has just five (some say six) species, Strelitzia Reginae being the most common.
Here's everything you need to know about bird of paradise plant care and how to keep it looking gorgeous.
Strelitzia care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings. It has fleshy roots that is prone to root rot when they are in excess moisture.
- Make sure your pot has proper drainage. It is essential to ensure proper drainage because roots are prone to root rot.
- Make sure it gets lots of bright light. Strelitzias are passionate about direct sunlight. Plants that grow in too little light do not bloom or grow as beautifully.
- Use grow lights if you don't have enough light. Strelitzia plant is able to tolerate artificial light very well.
- Regularly dust and wipe its big leaves. This helps it absorb all the light you give it. It's hard for the leaf to absorb light when it's covered in dust.
- Make sure you rotate your Strelitzia regularly. This will ensure that light is distributed evenly throughout all leaves.
- Fertilise your Strelitzia regularly during the growing season. It is a pretty heavy feeder as it grows fast and eventually will use all nutrients from its soil.
- They love humid atmosphere. It's best to have at least 50% humidity in the air, but the more, the better. Leaf edges can get crispy and brown if the humidity is too low.
- Don’t worry about splitting leaves. In fact, it happens so that more light can reach the leaves at the bottom. Also, moving and handling leaves can split them more.
- They can grow really big and need a lot of room. While they can grow up to 6 meters tall in their natural habitat, they tend not to exceed 3.5 meters indoors.
Bird of Paradise Care Tips
These plants can grow very fast and therefore have more needs as well. Useful to know is that outer leaves will always turn browner in time. There is nothing you can do about this, it is natural. You can cut the older leaves off if they really become ugly.
Light and placement
The Strelitzia thrives best in bright indirect light when you have just adopted her. Strelitzia really needs to acclimate first since it has grown in greenhouses before. After some time, it tolerates full sunlight for about 3-4 hours each day. In spite of this, too much sun can damage its leaves and result in brown/reddish spots. Choose a bright spot for it. An east-facing window or a few meters away from a south-facing window would be ideal.
- Rotate your Strelitzia regularly to ensure all leaves receive the same amount of light.
- Dust off its big leaves from time to time. This allows it to absorb all the light and helps to keep pests away.
She really is not suited for low light conditions. Low light can slow down your bird of paradise's growth, and it may become more stretched and leggy. If needed, use grow lights to provide it with enough bright light.
The key is to let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings. You probably have to water more often in the summer and a little less in the winter. In winter, you can let the whole soil dry out between waterings. Strelitzia is really sensitive to overwatering as its fleshy roots start to rot very easily. If you’re unsure if it's time for new watering, remember that dry soil is better than wet soil. Also, ensure that your plant nursery pot has drainage holes and that excess water can escape.
Expert tip! When you have trouble determining when to water, you can measure moisture level with a water meter. Strelitzia can be sensitive to tap water chemicals, but this depends on your water quality. If you notice that this may cause problems, use filtered or rain water or let it stand for 24 hours before watering.
Strelitzia really needs regular feeding. It eats a lot and will quickly use all nutrients in its current soil since it is fast growing houseplant. Fertilising your Bird of Paradise every 2 weeks during the spring and summer is important to support and encourage its fast growth and flowering. We recommend using PLNTS nutrition liquid fertiliser.
It is important not to fertilise too much, as this can result in fertiliser burn. It is not necessary to feed it during the winter.
Strelitzia prefers temperatures between 18 and 28°C. They like a cooler period in winter, a minimum of 18-15°C, as this encourages flowering. Temperature fluctuations, such as cold drafts, heat vents, etc., should be avoided.
Is it safe to take it outside in the summer (Europe)?
Strelitzia can go outside as long as the temperature's warm enough. Start out with a semi-shade spot, but after a few weeks, if the plant has gotten used to the outdoor conditions, you can move it to direct sunlight. Avoid places with too much wind and extreme temperatures. Be sure to return the plant to the room before the cool evenings.
As tropical plants, they love high humidity. The best humidity level would be around 60-70%. However, Strelitzia will tolerate lower humidity levels too, but not under 50%. Loo low humidity can cause the leaves to become dry and brittle. Also, if your leaves split too much or start to curl, it can be a sign of low humidity.
If necessary, use a pebble tray or humidifier to increase air humidity. You can also mist Strelitzias leaves occasionally with a water spray, but make sure to do so early in the morning or late in the evening. When the sun's rays reflect off water droplets on leaves, they can burn. Check out our tips on how to measure air humidity and raise it.
In the case of Strelitzia, it is not worth rushing to repotting because they like to be slightly pot bound and in a smaller pot. They also bloom better when growing in rootbound conditions. However, if the Strelitzia stays in the same pot for too long, it will start to lift itself out of the pot with its roots, or one day it will simply burst and will break your nursery pot.
Therefore, it still needs to be repotted and given fresh soil from time to time. Make sure to avoid planting it in a pot that is too large, and remember that it may not bloom for a couple of years afterwards. Keep in mind that repotting should be done during the active growing season, in spring or summer. Check out our repotting guide.
Strelitzias prefer well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients and has a pH range of 6,0 to 7,0. In order to create the best soil mix, peat moss, perlite and vermiculite should be included. We recommend using PLNTS organic potting soil.
Want to expand your Strelitzia collection? There are several methods for propagating Strelitzia, but one of the most common methods is dividing the rhizomes.
Here is a step-by-step guide to propagating Strelitzia through division:
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot. This can be done by gently turning the pot upside down and tapping the bottom until the plant comes out.
- Inspect the root ball for any signs of rot, disease, or pests. Discard any damaged or diseased parts.
- As a rule, each stem has a separate root system, but sometimes there are two stems on one root system. Divide plants gently by hand or with a sharp, clean knife. Young plants separate more easily. Older plants with a denser root system definitely need the help of a knife.
- Replant each division into a separate container filled with well-draining potting soil. Be sure to plant the divisions at the same depth as they were previously growing.
- If necessary, the root system can be trimmed a little to plant it better in the soil, but not more than 20% of the root system. Otherwise, it will suffer for too long.
- Place them in bright, indirect light. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
- Let the cuts heal for a few days without water, and then begin a regular watering schedule. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
- Monitor the new plants for any signs of stress or disease, and adjust the care as needed. While dividing rhizomes is the most popular method for propagating Strelitzia, you can also give seed or stem cutting a shot - just keep in mind these methods are not as dependable and can take more time to produce results.
Strelitzia Reginae is a beautiful plant known for its large, bright and showy flowers that resemble tropical birds. The flowers typically come in shades of orange and blue, and some varieties may have a pinkish or purplish hue. There is also a rare yellow flowering form.
If you want your Strelitzia Reginae to produce its beautiful flowers, you'll need to give it the right environment:
- Provide enough light. Bright filtered light with 3-4 hours of direct sunlight is perfect.
- Keep the temperature between 18-28°C. During winter months, you can lower the temperature to around 15°C. This can encourage flowering.
- Keep the humidity high, around 60-70% is ideal.
- Regularly fertilise the plant with balanced plant food during the growing season.
Be patient, as Strelitzia Reginae can take several years to mature and produce flowers.
Strelitzia Nicolai also flowers, but they don't typically bloom indoors as it's hard to give it the ideal conditions it needs. Therefore it is more known for its beautiful foliage.
Most common pests and diseases on Strelitzias
The Bird of Paradise plant is generally a pest-free and easy-going plant. When she is a little weaker, she can be prone to spider mites. To provide this from happening it is always good to regularly wipe the leaves with a soft cloth. When a problem occurs, we recommend you check with our PLNTS doctor to see what the best solution is!
Strelitzia frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Is Strelitzia a good houseplant?
There is no doubt that Strelitzia is one of the best houseplants out there, with its unique tropical look and ease of maintenance.
How big to Bird of Paradise get?
The size of a Bird of Paradise plant can vary depending on the variety and growing conditions, but generally, it grows up to 1.5 to 3 meters tall and 60 to 90 cm wide. Its leaves can reach 1 meter long.
Does it need sun?
Bird of Paradise plants need tons of indirect, bright sunlight to thrive. You can put them in a south-facing window or a sunny spot next to a window. However, too much sun can hurt them, so keep them under the sun for about 3-4 hours a day. It's also nice to expose them to outdoor sunlight in the summer.
Are Strelitzias poisonous for pets or children?
Yes, Strelitzia is toxic to pets and humans. She doesn’t like to be eaten, so she makes herself poisonous in order to protect herself. Unfortunately, this is not good news for small children or your pet. Please keep a close eye on it to keep the plant out of reach.
Why my Strelitzia new leaf won't unfurl?
Give the leaves time to unfurl. Usually, the long stem of the leaf comes earlier, but it takes time for them to unfurl, which can take up to several months. It can take more time during winter months. Ensure that you provide the proper care, light, and water to encourage unfurling. You may also mist it.
Why does my Strelitzia have yellow leaves?
Yellowed leaves on your Strelitzia may be caused by things like too much sun, lack of watering, or nutrient deficiencies. Check for these issues and make adjustments as needed, like moving the plant to a spot with better light or adjusting your watering schedule. Also, look out for pests or diseases that may be causing the problem.
Why do my Strelitzia leaves have brown edges?
It's probably due to the low air humidity level. Your paradise plant loves a humid environment and wants air humidity higher than 50%.
Why does my Strelitzia leaf split?
It is totally normal for the plant to begin forming splits in its leaves as it matures. These splits occur to allow more light to reach the lower leaves, and they can also split if they are handled and moved too much. Sometimes new leaf splits while unfurling, too!
Although this is a normal process in the life of a Strelitzia, leaf cracking can also be affected by excessively dry air and other improper care practices or growing conditions.
Why does my Strelitzia have curling leaves?
It's probably due to a lack of humidity. Curling is a natural defence against water loss. Make sure the humidity is at least 50%, and ideally higher. It also can suffer from pest infestation. Check your plant carefully for any signs of insects or diseases.
Why my Strelitzia won't flower?
Strelitzias, also known as the Bird of Paradise plants, are known to be slow-bloomers, and if you are experiencing issues with your plant not producing flowers, there could be several reasons why. Insufficient light, an improper watering schedule, pests or diseases, age, inadequate pot size or temperature could be the cause.
For example, Strelitzias require bright, indirect sunlight to thrive. If the plant is not getting enough light, it may not have the energy to produce flowers. Similarly, if your plant is not getting the right amount of water or is not in a large enough container, it may struggle to produce flowers.
The plant could simply be too young for blooming. Only a mature plant produce flowers. Small and young plants can be too young. They must be at least 3-5 years old.
Buy Strelitzia online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com you can buy the two types of the Bird of Paradise: Strelitzia Nicolai and Strelitzia Reginae. Whether you like your Bird of Paradise big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy Strelitzia online at PLNTS.com!