The Strelitzia Nicolai, also known as the Bird of Paradise or the Wild Banana Plant, is without a doubt one of our absolute favourites here at The Little Botanical. This striking plant with its huge green leaves is simply fabulous. It truly is a must-have member of our big house plant collection. We’re so excited to take a closer look at this glossy beauty!
Looking after the Bird of Paradise
A cousin to the banana, the Bird of Paradise is one of the most popular of all tropical flowers. It has risen to prominence as an excellent and stylish indoor house plant over the last twenty years. A large portion of its appeal comes from the ease at which it grows, which is a rare trait for a tropical plant.
The Bird of Paradise is a beautiful specimen which flourishes when grown inside, provided it receives the correct treatment. While this plant enjoys lots of sunlight, its leaves don’t fare well in a direct and full glare as they easily scorch.
Make sure the plant is kept warm wherever possible and be sure to water the plant once a week. Overwatering is detrimental to the Bird of Paradise. Avoid this by checking the moisture levels in the soil with your thumb before watering. If the uppermost layer of soil is dry, then it’s safe to add some water. For more information and further plant care advice, read our frequently asked questions.
The Perfect Look
When finding a spot for this plant, make sure you allow for it to have plenty of room. The Bird of Paradise is one of our biggest plants and can rapidly grow huge leaves.
We’d recommend positioning this plant in a well-lit and spacious area, such as the kitchen or the lounge. It can also command attention in a bedroom, or add bags of character to a home study or hallway.
If you’re looking for a real show-stopper of a plant to take the centre stage in your house, then this huge green beauty is the perfect candidate. Here at The Little Botanical, we believe a plant of this calibre should only be available in the largest size possible.
Have a look at our XL Bird of Paradise which comes in our stylish Little Botanical ceramic pot. Or if you want to take it up a notch, then our XL Bird of Paradise in Belly Basket may be the option for you, with our new stunning belly baskets making the plant look even more gorgeous.
The genus name for the Bird of Paradise is Strelitzia Nicolai, which was coined by Sir Joseph Banks. The genus Strelitzia was named after the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen Charlotte. She was known to be extremely fond of plants and flowers. This tropical specimen originating from South Africa was named after her in the 18th Century.
The Strelitzia Nicolai is known as the Bird of Paradise because, when its three flowers bloom, they are said to look like a flying tropical bird. Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that these plants will flower when grown indoors as they require at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to bloom. If you live in the UK, then this may be wishful thinking!
An unusual feature of the Bird of Paradise is that it actually has no trunk. Its large leaves grow up directly from the soil, where they can then expand up to a staggering 45cms long! Make sure you give this tropical lovely the space it needs to really spread its wings!
Frequently asked questions
My Strelitzia Bird of Paradise arrived and it's enormous! Is there any special care I need to give it to make sure it remains big and healthy?
Make sure you have the Bird of Paradise positioned in indirect sunlight. Check the soil is dry 2 inches beneath the surface before watering. You can also rotate the plant to make sure it grows evenly on all sides, and dust the leaves so the plant can photosynthesize.
Where did the Bird of Paradise get its name from?
The Bird of Paradise is named so because it’s flower is made from six petals, three are bright orange, the other three are a vibrant blue. As the flower blooms, each petal reveals itself, and the emerging shape resembles that of a tropical bird in flight. Beautiful!
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