The White Bird of Paradise is a large, palm-like plant that has fan-shaped clusters of banana-like leaves atop a tall, leaning stem. The plants form clusters of stems with younger shoots at the base. It is native to the tropical regions of South Africa. This species is the largest in the genus, capable of reaching up to 30 feet in height. Plants of the Strelitzia genus are known for their large, crane-shaped flowers. The striking color and overall appearance of these blooms have been likened to the vibrant displays of male birds of paradise. Strelitzia nicolai has deep blue and creamy white flowers. The leaves of this plant will often split. These fenestrations are normal and occur frequently in nature, giving flexibility to leaves and branches when the wind blows and allowing light to reach the lower leaves on the plant. Hardy in zones 9-12.
Growing Instructions for the White Bird of Paradise
The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. 1. Remove the orange fringes from the seeds. 2. The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout. To scarify the seeds, nick or sand the seed coat with sandpaper. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 3. Soak the seed in water for 24 hours. 4. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet. 5. Sow the seeds ½-1 inch deep. 6. Water the seeds. 7. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. The seeds are slow to germinate and can take 8 weeks or more to start to grow. 8. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.