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Strelitzia Nicolai: Here’s How You Can Take Care of It

Florists and gardeners are fascinated with a wide range of plants. However, Strelitzias are a particular favorite among them. 

Did you know that of all the Strelitzia species, the Strelitzia Nicolai or giant white bird of paradise is the one that grows the most? 

Most plant enthusiasts have at least one Strelitzia, and those without one should get one as soon as possible. 

Not only is it low-maintenance, but it also adds an exotic touch to any home or garden, making it a must-have.

The Strelitzia Nicolai is native to Africa’s southwestern and southeastern regions.

As a flowering plant, it earns the nickname “Bird of Paradise” and adds another decorative point to your home. 

The shape of the flowers on this plant reminds me of a bird with unusual plumage if you put some thought into it.

The genus is named after Charlotte de Mecklembourg-Strelitz, an English queen of German ancestry who was an avid botanist.

Strelitzia Nicolai is the most robust of the Strelitzia genus when it comes to size. In case you don’t already have one at home, it’s not a problem.

Strelitzias are easy to care for, requiring only a small amount of attention to keep them healthy and happy during their growth spurt.

  Strelitzia Nicolai or White Bird of Paradise Plant
Strelitzia Nicolai or White Bird of Paradise

Caring for Strelitzia Nicolai or White Bird of Paradise

Light

You need to ensure high-intensity indirect lighting and low-intensity direct lighting. 

It prefers to be outside, but you can keep it indoors if you have plenty of natural light. 

This plant needs at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight a day, and it should be protected from the sun’s harsh midday sun. 

If the Strelitzia does not receive the light it requires, we will not be able to enjoy the plant’s most distinctive feature, its flowers. This is critical!

Irrigation

How many times have you forgotten to water your plants? Do not be alarmed. 

Even in the absence of water, Strelitzia Nicolai thrives in its native habitat. 

Of course, we’ll have to be extra careful in the summer to prevent the substrate from becoming too dry. 

With a constant humidity range of 60-70 percent, the temperature is ideal. In general, I’ve established the following irrigation plan:

  • Waterings in the fall and spring:  Twice a week.
  • Summer irrigation: 3 to 4 irrigations per week, depending on temperature with a volume equal to 1/4 or 1/5 of the total volume of the container or pot.
  • Irrigation in the winter: once per week. It’ll be easier to space out waterings when your Strelitzia Nicolai is more self-sufficient in the winter.

In terms of volume, it is customary to apply between 15 and 20 L per adult plant, and 5 to 10 L per irrigation in young plants.

We will provide two weekly irrigations in the summer and one in the winter, 

Before watering, use your finger or a moisture meter to check the substrate’s condition. You won’t need anything else if the soil is moist and cool.

Temperature

Strelitzia Nicolai is native to the African continent, so it thrives in heat and humidity. 

It maintains a perfect temperature range of (10-25°C) (50-77°F), the ideal temperature for it to surprise you with its incredible flowers. 

It is best to protect it slightly below 10°C to keep it from wilting. And if you live in an area where frost is common, you should bring it home.

Humidity

It is ideal to have an optimal humidity level above 70% because below that, its leaves are usually affected and chlorosis appears on their edges.

It tolerates wind well, so it can be grown in coastal areas, where there is higher humidity, which benefits the crop.

Flowering

 Strelitzia Nicolai or White Bird of Paradise Flower
Strelitzia Nicolai or White Bird of Paradise Flower

As a place to begin, let’s look at the most eye-catching feature of this plant: its flowers. 

In the spring, they’ll start to appear, and they’ll stay until the fall. 

There are three layers to the wafer flower, with the first layer being purple and the second layer being orange and the third layer being yellow. 

This flower can bloom several times a year if you live somewhere warm.

Fertilizer Will Give a Growth Boost

For a boost in growth, use organic liquid fertilizers. 

Try compost, worm castings, or herbivorous animal manure in the spring and early fall to observe your Strelitzia Nicolai grow slowly!

The soil should be well aerated

An 80/20 mixture of universal substrate and perlite is great for potted Strelitzia Nicholai. Perlite helps with soil aeration. 

If grown in a garden, it’ll need rich soil, good drainage, a perlite-based universal growing medium, and a 50x50cm hole.

Choose the Right Size Pot

Although strelitzia Nikolai has a deep root system planting it in a pot is possible. Therefore, it is necessary to transplant it once a year at the very minimum.

You must ensure that it is in a large enough pot to allow it to grow properly.

On the other hand, as long as the temperature is appropriate, you can place it both indoors and outdoors.

Pruning And Maintenance 

As it is, Strelitzia Nicolai does not require pruning. The only maintenance task is the removal of dried flowers. 

You can remove them by trimming them with sharp scissors. Remove the affected or damaged leaves to prevent the spread of disease.

White Bird of Paradise Common Problems And Solutions

Root Rot Due to Overwatering

The plant has a poor appearance, slow growth, and the outer leaves turn yellow before withering, followed by the inner leaves.

The plant’s collar becomes blackened after the first symptoms appear. The roots of the plant appear soft and black when removed from the pot. 

These are all classic symptoms of root and basal rot, which is caused by the fungus Phytophthora spp. and is primarily caused by overwatering.

Treatment: Remove the plant from the pot and discard any damaged parts first. After that, a broad-spectrum fungicide powder should be applied to the cut parts. 

Then thoroughly dry the soil, re-pot the plant, and wait at least a week before watering to allow the cut surfaces to heal. Watering should be better controlled in the future.

Spots on Strelitzia Nicolai

Brown spots, slightly depressed and irregularly shaped, appear on the inflorescences just out of the spathe, and a gummy substance forms in response.

If you notice these signs, you have fusarium, which is caused by a fungus called Fusarium spp.

Treatment: in addition to reducing environmental humidity, which allows this fungus to multiply, the fight against this fungus is based on the use of specific fungicides.

Leaves with necrotic spots and a gray moldy appearance. The presence of gray mold, Botrytis spp is usually associated with this kind of symptoms.

Remedy: Remove the infected parts as soon as possible and apply a fungicide to the bird’s blossom.

Botrytis treatments are primarily preventative, as this fungus is favored by high humidity and overwatering.

Leaves Turning Yellow or Yellow Spots 

Following the onset of these symptoms, the leaves curl up, take on a dusty appearance, and fall off. A close inspection reveals subtle spider webs, particularly on the undersides of the leaves.

With these symptoms, we are most likely in the presence of a spider mite infestation, a very annoying and harmful mite.

Treatment: Increase the frequency of misting (lack of humidity promotes spider mites’ development) and, eventually, only in the case of particularly severe infestations, use specific chemical products. 

If the bird-flower plant isn’t too large, you can try cleaning the leaves with a wet, soapy cotton swab to mechanically remove the parasite. The plant should then be thoroughly rinsed to remove any remaining soap.

Strelitzia Nicolai Not Flowering

It is quite common for nothing to appear at the time when the flowers of the bird of paradise plant should appear.

At that point, we investigate whether we made a mistake with the water dosage or the nutrient contribution.

Although these two factors can reduce or eliminate flowering, the cause is most likely a lack of light. This plant is extremely demanding in high light conditions, and it must not be deprived at any cost.

Tips For Strelitzia Nicolai  Plant Propagation

When purchasing a bird of paradise plant, it is best to purchase cuttings or seedlings that have already developed, as seeds will take a long time to grow and produce flowers. 

Once you’ve adapted it for your home or garden, you’ll undoubtedly want to replicate it to give as a gift.

Your Strelitzia Nicolai can reproduce in two ways: sexually and asexually.

That is, it is accomplished through the use of seeds or division from offspring or shoots born from the mother plant.

Explants, which are small pieces of tissue, can also be used to multiply. However, the division is the simplest and quickest technique.

By Division Of The Plant

To divide the plant, remove it from the pot while being careful not to damage the roots. You can assist yourself by using a spatula.

Separate the plant with your hands, paying special attention to the part where it naturally divides. 

Look for the buds that form on the sides of the trunk’s main stem to identify it.

Then you must untangle the roots. Take care not to injure them too much during the process. 

Make cuts with a knife that do not separate them from the stems. 

Because the plant’s offshoots usually develop independently of the mother, this process is usually not too complicated.

Additional Advice For Your Strelitzia Nicolai

– It is extremely wind-resistant. But, let’s face it, every strong storm causes some kind of damage. If you decide to keep your Strelitzia Nicolai outside, you must be cautious of strong gusts of wind and keep it undercover so that nothing harms it.

– Remember how much it enjoys humidity? To keep the moisture, steam it frequently and place it on a plate with water and river edges.

– Remember to clean the dust off the leaves and remove any withered flowers so that they can continue to grow well.

– If you’re not sure when to transplant it, its roots will serve as a guide. It’s time when you see them peering over the substrate or through the drainage holes. If you want to learn how come here.

ATTENTION: Because the Strelitzia Nicolai does not get along with children or pets, you will need to keep an eye on them to avoid any unwanted squabbles.