Botanical name: Strelitzia nicolai
Common name: Giant Bird of Paradise
A great choice for instant height in a room. Its banana-like fronds fan out and upwards, creating an instant oasis in your home. Sometimes used for outdoors, and a great screening plant for tubs, avoid planting them in the ground unless you have the space for a 6m sensation!
Light: inside a bright, well-lit position is best. Outdoors they will grow in shade and even full sun.
Watering: make sure you let it drain freely, and never have water sitting in the saucer. It likes to be reasonably moist over the warm months, but as the weather cools, ease off the water and let it dry out slightly between drinks.
Feeding: use liquid fertiliser every few weeks, as per instructions on the pack.
Tip: use a moist cloth to wipe down the leaves and keep them free of dust. A little white oil or melted coconut oil can be applied to give them an extra luscious shine.
Giant Birds of Paradise don’t respond well to excessive wind, as it can tear their leaves easily.
Birds of Paradise are clumping plants, which means that you can propagate them by division after flowering.
Other species include Strelitzia reginae, which has orange flowers instead of white. It can grow inside, provided it’s a very bright and sunny position. It prefers to outdoors.
There are rarer varieties that we can get stocks of occasionally, including the Spoonleaf Bird of Paradise, or S. parvifolia, and S. juncea, which has reed like foliage.
By: Meredith Kirton