How to care for: Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)
Strelitzia is one of the most popular houseplants out there and is deemed as the Queen of the indoor plant world. The Strelitzia has glossy banana-shaped leaves that creates a rich, graceful statement at your home. In nature the plant gets intense orange-yellow and blue shade flowers between its robust leaves. Strelitzia plants stretch towards the sky and capture everyone’s attention.
Water once a week
How do you take care of a Bird of Paradise?
In nature the Strelitzia gets a lot of sun. It prefers to get a lot of sun in your living room too. Position the plant in a location where there is a lot of bright direct sunlight. Preferably at least 5 hours a day. Does your Strelitzia get too little light? You will soon notice this. The leaves will start hanging, when it gets too little sunlight.
A Strelitzia needs water at least once a week. In summer it is best to water the plant twice a week. In nature the Strelitzia is confronted with a tropical rain shower every day. In order to reproduce such a tropical shower, you can place the plant in the shower on a regular basis. Make sure that the water can drain away well. Otherwise, water will remain in the bottom of the flowerpot and your Strelitzia may suffer from root rot. In the winter, a splash of water once a week is enough for a Strelitzia.
Plant nutrition is certainly something a Strelitzia needs. In summer the plant grows so fast that it could use some extra nutrition. It is best to add a little plant nutrition to its water once every two weeks in summer. Universal plant nutrition is sufficient for a Strelitzia. With poor nutrients the Strelitzia will not grow as fast and may even hang down a little. In winter, your houseplant does't need any nutrition. Too many nutrients can even cause your plant to die in winter.
The Strelitzia is a fast grower. Especially in the summer with all that extra sunlight, the plant can grow out of its flowerpot quickly. Repotting the Strelitzia is best to do every year to once every 2 years. Especially when the plant is relatively small and continues to grow quite a lot. The best time to repot is in spring, before the plant starts to grow vigorously. Use a flowerpot that is at least 20% larger, than its previous. When repotting, you can simply use universal potting soil. This soil can then be reused for other houseplants.
The Strelitzia is an air-purifying plant. This is mainly due to the large leaves. The large leaf surface gives the plant extra stomata. Strelitzia plants use these stomata to convert CO2 into oxygen during the day. And that is always good. For you and your home.
Is a Bird of Paradise toxic?
The Strelitzia is mildy toxic. The plant itself is considered a caution, but the flower is highly toxic to everyone.
Diseases and peculiarities
If the air is too dry, the Strelitzia can suffer from spider mites. To prevent spider mites, it is best to use the plant sprayer once a week. Spider mites are an infection of mites on plants. You can recognise the infection by infected leaves and a kind of cobwebs. If you have come across spider mites, it is best to place the plant outside. Wind and moisture from outside will quickly keep the spider mite away.
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Frequently asked questions about the Bird of Paradise
How tall does a Strelitzia get?
In nature, Strelitzias can grow to a height of 10 metres. The plant will not reach this height indoors, but it will certainly manage to grow to a height of 2 to 3 metres. The Strelitzia can reach a height of 2 to 3 metres within 3 years.
Why do the leaves of the Strelitzia curl?
If the leaves of your Strelitzia start to curl, this is usually due to humidity or temperature. Cold and draughts can cause the leaves of the Strelitzia to curl up quickly.
If new leaves remain curled, this is often due to low humidity. It is best to spray the plant regularly with a plant sprayer to increase the humidity.
Can my Strelitzia bloom?
Yes, it is certainly possible. However, it will take at least five years before an indoor Strelitzia starts to flower. The Strelitzia is usually at least 2 metres tall before it starts to flower. In addition, the habitat must be optimal to promote flowering.
When the Strelitzia starts to flower, it will do so from May to October. The plant will then have orange-blue flowers.
Why do the leaves of the Strelitzia tear?
Tears in the leaves of the Strelitzia are a natural process. In nature, leaves tear as a protection mechanism from the wind, for example.
Tears in the Strelitzia can't be prevented.