Strelitzia reginae inflorescence

Strelitzia reginae inflorescence

Strelitzia reginae or Bird of Paradise is from South Africa and known for its spectacular inflorescence that resembles the head of a bird of paradise.

The plant was first introduced in Europe in 1773 and is now grown all over the world because of its high decorative value.

It is not hardy but can be grown in a container, spend the summer outdoors and overwinter indoors.

Description:

The bracts of the flowers are green with red tones, the flowers are orange yellow with blue tongues. They appear at the top of the flower stalk that protrudes above the plant. The inflorescence is perpendicular to the petiole and serves as support for honey birds that pollinate the flower.

The relatively hard leaves are green above and dull gray-green below. They measure 25-75 cm long and 10-30 cm wide. They appear at the top of a petiole that can be up to 1 m long.

Usage:

Ornamental

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Bird of Paradise, Bird-Of-Paradise, Crane Flower, Craneflower, Strelitzia

Etymology:

The name was given in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of King George III.

Strelitzia reginae plant

Strelitzia reginae plant

Origin:

South Africa

Habitat:

River banks and clearings in shrubs, in coastal areas

Hardiness:

USDA zone 9-11, -3 °C for very short periods

Care:

Soil:

The plant needs a lot of nutrients, therefore provide a very rich soil. Use preferably a mixture of topsoil, sand and peat moss.

Exposure:

Sun, light. Full sun will promote flowering.

Water:

Keep the soil moist

Feed:

Fertilize every 2 weeks with liquid universal fertilizer during growing season

Repotting:

Repot annually to obtain vigorous growth

Strelitzia reginae seeds

Strelitzia reginae seeds

Propagation:

Seed, suckers. When sown, will not flower before 3 to 6 years. Division of the rhizome perturbs florwering.

Sowing instructions:

  • remove the orange tuft from the seed
  • soak 1 day in tepid water
  • sow in a mixture of topsoil, sand and peat moss
  • moisten
  • doesn’t need a very high temperature to germinate: 25 °C. A lower temperature will slow down germination.
  • germination: 4-8 weeks

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