Statement plant, anyone? This week we're looking at the Giant Bird of Paradise - a plant that's been bringing the drama to corners everywhere since 2017. And when we say giant, we mean, giant. These plants can grow upwards of 6m in their native South Africa (although anyone who has visited tropical Queensland would have seen one lining the streets), but you're probably not going to reach (or need!) such epic scale indoors.
That being said, their popularity comes from its unique, upright habit and massive foliage. For its size, it takes up very little floor space making it the favourite of interior stylists everywhere to fill a corner and draw the eye upwards.
Strelitzia nicolai care guide
We don't get to say this much - Bright, direct, light. Finally a plant you can hit with some direct sun and its going to thank you for it. Don't fret though, if you can't get direct light it'll still be happy with plenty of bright, indirect light. The closer to a window, the better. (Although as usual, watch out for drafts that create inconsistent temperature changes around the plant)
These plants love a light, free-draining potting media (a 50/50 blend of Aroid Mix and Indoor Mix is perfect). Keeping the media full of life with an organic soil food every few months will help with nutrient break down and extend the life of the potting mix. As with all potting mixes, you want to make sure its full of quality ingredients as the better the mix, the less problems you'll have down the line. Strelitzias are susceptible to root rot so free-draining is essential.
This one is easy. Drench, then dry. The Giant Bird of Paradise benefits from a good drink (we're talking, water-coming-out-of-the-drainage-holes drink), and then being left to dry out. The frequency of this routine will vary depending on your home, so don't be shy about getting those hands dirty and making sure the potting mix has lost all moisture before watering again. In
For a fast growing, big foliage plant like the Strelitzia Nicolai, a high nitrogen liquid fertiliser is best. While actively growing, fertilising can be done on a fortnightly basis and if your plant slows down its growth over Winter then consider using an organic slow release fertiliser. Organics don't offer as high npk ratio and take longer to be absorbed by the plant, making them great for the 'off season'. When Spring comes around though, get back on to a liquid based mineral fertiliser like our Indoor Plant Food.
Strelitzias enjoy a bit of humidity, so try placing with other plants to increase perspiration around the plant. Being placed in hallways or near air conditioners (anywhere where there are drafts) can stress the plant out so avoid it if you can.
Plant Runner Hot Tip
The Giant Bird of Paradise is known for its impressive foliage. With the large surface area it will catch alot of dust, so clean regularly with neem oil to ensure you plant is able to photosynthesize to its full potential.
Watch out for...
- Root Rot - don't overwater!
- Fungal disease
To treat, have a read about managing Pests and Diseases here.