The Story of ~ Strelizia Nicolai
With my large green leaves I transform your interior into a real Urban Jungle. It is therefore not surprising that I have become one of the most popular plants in the house in recent years!
I have many nicknames: Bird of Paradise, Bird of Paradise Flower, Bird of Paradise Plant, Bird’s Head Flower or Strelitzia.
I got these nicknames from the shape and color of my special flowers. As a houseplant I will unfortunately not flower quickly, there is too short light here to plant flowers, but as a green plant I also enjoy it very much.
I am part of the Musaceae family, which is the family that also includes the banana plant. I am originally from South Africa.
I can flower, but you don’t see that often because I first have to be a decent size of about 2.5 meters before I start to flower. In the tropics that works fine, I grow wonderfully tall and can reach a height of 10 meters. I give large black with white flowers, these are also called white bird of paradise (the Strelizia Reginae gives the well-known orange – blue colored flowers). My flowers are also large, the bract of the flower can reach a length of 35cm.
Both the new flower and the new leaf emerge from a spear-shaped stem. Do you want to know what a new flower will be? You can easily find out by feeling the shape of the spear. With a new leaf, the stem is completely straight, with a new flower there is a small bulge in which the flower is folded until it comes into bloom.
I am a strong plant and do well in a location with a lot of light, but I need a lot of water. You can easily place me in front of a window because too little light often causes ugly leaves. Please note if the sun is too bright my leaves can burn, then temporarily move me a little further away from the window or shield the direct sunlight. In winter you can put me in a cooler room, that will benefit my health.
My oldest leaves can tear on their own, this does not mean that you are not taking good care of me, but is a natural protection measure of nature. I often grow along the coast in tropical areas. Because the wind is quite strong there and my blade is quite hard, my blade will break very easily if it does not tear. If you don’t like the torn leaf, you can choose to remove the leaf.
Because I make large roots, you can repot me when I grow from the current cultivation pot. You can see this when I am pushed upwards or when the pot is deformed by my large root lot.
Sometimes I suffer from scale insects or mealy bugs. Because of my hard blade you can easily rub the louse off. Spider mites can also occur on my leaf, which can be recognized by small spider webs in the leaf tips. If you spray my leaf regularly you can prevent the spider mites from getting out of hand. An additional advantage is that my leaves remain dust-free, so nice and fresh!
The temperature where I feel good is between 60°F and 80°F. In the summer I need a lot of water, about enough water that the soil is just dry again after a week. However, prevent my roots from being in the water. In winter, the soil may dry up further. Then still give me water once a week, but reduce the amount. After 6 to 8 weeks I have used up the nutrients present in the soil. Add liquid food for flowering houseplants to the water, the correct dosage is stated on the packaging.
If I show brown spots, this is usually a sign of too much water. If you see white spots on my leaves, it has to do with the lime that the plant repels. This can easily be removed with a damp cloth.
My oldest leaves can turn brown after a while, that is a natural process. You
can remove these if you want: cut or cut the leaf stems about 2cm above the ground. The cut part is susceptible to infections after cutting. This 2 cm will dry up and be rejected by me.
Good to know: I am an ideal plant for your bedroom, because cold is not a problem. And just like the banana plant, I also have an air-purifying effect. This means that I produce extra oxygen and break down harmful substances!
Our houses are increasingly better insulated. So good that it is difficult for harmful substances to escape. Everyone has these harmful substances, from formaldehyde to benzene. It comes from everyday things like cleaning products and electrical equipment. Good insulation also means that the air becomes quite dry and that there is not enough oxygen in the house. That is not good for our night’s sleep, because unhealthy air can lead to respiratory problems, headaches and restlessness. Air-purifying plants in the bedroom reduce the risk of these health problems, so that your night’s sleep improves!
Not all air-purifying plants can be used in the bedroom because it is usually a bit darker than the average living room. Fortunately, there are a number of indoor plants that do well in partial shade (including me) and are therefore perfect for your bedroom!
How many plants do you need for a healthy bedroom?
One plant alone could never purify a large bedroom. It depends on several factors, such as the size of the plant, the ventilation and the amount of harmful substances in the bedroom. It is therefore difficult to determine an exact number of plants, you could keep 1 to 2 medium-sized houseplants per 15 m2.