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Giant bird of paradise

Strelitzia nicolai

Natal wild banana, Wild banana, White bird of paradise, Natal strelitzia , Wild strelitzia

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Strelitzia nicolai is useful for creating a lush, tropical effect. It can be used to offset hard landscaping, buildings and pools. It withstands salty coastal winds, making it a good feature plant or screen for coastal gardens. Because of the size it achieves, plant it towards the back of borders or as showstopper!

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Flowers can be harvested once they have opened and will last a few days in a vase.

Propagation

Seed
To grow from seed, remove the orange arils and sow seed in a mixture of equal parts river sand and compost. Cover with a thin layer of compost and keep moist.
Division
Divide root suckers in spring and plant into pots or directly into the soil.

Special features

Attracts birds
Flowers provides nectar that attracts sunbirds, especially Olive Sunbirds and Grey Sunbirds. Vervet and Samango monkeys feed on the soft part of the flowers as well as on the orange aril of the seeds.
Drought resistant
The plant is is fairly drought tolerant once established.
Pot plant
It can be planted in large pots and will grow happily for a few years until it becomes too big for the pot.
Indoor plant
It can be grown indoors as a foliage plant, but it will most probably not flower. It needs high levels of light.

Geography

Origin
Africa, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Loam, Sand, Chalk
Soil PH preference
Neutral, Acid, Alkaline
Frost hardiness
Tender

Personality

Family
Strelitziaceae
Flower colour
White, blue and purple
Scent
None

Problems

Generally disease free but if grown under glass it can suffer from Red Spider Mites, Mealy bugs & Scale Insects

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