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FULL GUIDE: White Bird of Paradise Care (Strelitzia Nicolai) + FAQ

White Bird of Paradise Flowers (Strelitzia Nicolai)

The white bird of paradise plant (Strelitzia Nicolai) belongs to the bird of paradise plant species. The white bird of paradise is native to South Africa but has also been grown in Florida, California, and other locations. Botanist refers to it as the queen of the indoor plant world and the giant bird plant grows up to 7-8 feet tall. The white bird of paradise is a landscape plant that beautifies the home and environment. Read on to learn everything about the white bird of paradise!

Description of the White Bird of Paradise

  • Roots: The white bird of paradise develops thick, tuberous roots and is invasive as it spreads rapidly though not aggressive.
  • Stem: The white bird of paradise grows in clusters of erect woody multiple stems of 20 ft outdoors and up to 7 ft when grown indoors; the branches are numerous, growing from a single base.
  • Leaves: The white bird of Paradise plants have huge leaves measuring as wide as 1.8m and grow from clumping stalks. The leaves are fan-like and get more prominent as the plant matures. The old leaves fall off to expose the plant’s trunk while sprouting out new leaves.
  • Flowers: The flowers of the white bird plants consist of dark blueish sepals and petals in a blended color of purple and blue. The gorgeous flowers are held above the sprouting part of the leaf and are followed by its dry triangular seeds. It is important to note that the white bird of Paradise plant doesn’t flower until it has matured, which can take years, and it rarely flowers indoors. The giant white bird of paradise plant is an excellent garden plant for beautifying our homes and environment.

White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicolai) House Plant

Method of Cultivation

The giant white bird of paradise plant is grown indoors as it is reputed as the queen of indoor plants and can also be grown outdoors in a warm climate. It is produced in rich, moist soil and allows light frost.

The plant reproduces by dividing its seeds, and it takes years to reach maturity and flowering stage. When planted in a favorable environment, it bears fruits abundantly, and they are best kept far from buildings as its roots spread rapidly without consent.

It is a wild tropical plant with a grand architectural style; it grows up to 7-8m tall and should be grown in a spacious environment. It is resistant to high wind and requires indirect bright light to develop.

White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicolai) Plants in Greenhouse

Care Instructions and Maintenance of White Bird Plants

Below are instructions for care and maintenance of the white bird of paradise to ensure it grow quickly and perform optimally:

Light

The white bird of paradise plant grows well under bright light though care should be taken so that the rays of sunlight do not hit the leaves and ensure not to burden the plant by harsh direct sun. It adapts to medium light though it might grow slowly and not as desired.

The plant should be exposed to bright indirect light daily as it tends to grow in the direction it receives light. One is advised to choose a location away from air vents and drafts. An owner who doesn’t have access to an area with ideal lighting can use artificial light to support the plant. It is good to rotate the plant occasionally to ensure uniform growth as the leaves tend to face the ray of sunshine.

Temperature

The plant can be grown indoors and outdoors. It thrives in an environment of about 65-800F. It should not be placed to direct contact with air conditioning or heating vents as it doesn’t receive blown hot or cold air.

Humidity

The white bird of paradise plant appreciates occasional misting, which helps remove dust particles from its leaves. Therefore, the owner is advised to artificially substitute with the rare automatic mister and the microfiber dusting gloves.

It is essential to dust the leaves of the white bird of Paradise plant often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. To dust, use a mister and microfiber cloth and thoroughly wipe down each leaf while seizing the opportunity to inspect the bottom sides of its leafage to look out for pests.

Feeding

It is advisable to use the diluted regular houseplant fertilizer once a month or during early fall during the growing season of spring. One is also advised against overfeeding the plant as it causes excess salt buildup in the soil, leading to leaf burning.

Watering

The watering needs of the white bird of paradise plants depend on where it is placed, humidity, the time of the year, and the amount of heat. However, a closer observation of the plant directs the owner when and how to water it.

It is advised to water once a month using a spray bottle, watering can, drainage hole, or measuring cup with approximately 16 ounces (473 ml) of watering per session. It is important to use distilled water rather than tap water to prevent the buildup of minerals and prevent the plant’s leaves from turning brown along its edges.

Procedure for Watering

Pour your filtered water slowly around the center of the plant to filter the base; it is not suitable for the plant if the water runs down outside the root ball while leaving its central root dry, and this can happen by pouring the water in haste.

Slow watering is more effective for the plant as it aims to get the water to its root zone. It is also helpful to prick tiny drainage holes into the gravel and the soil with a dull knife or the tip end of a pointed pencil and pour water inside to ensure the water goes down to where it is designated.

You can also insert your finger into the soil about half an inch to feel the moisture level; if it is moist, then try again; if the ground feels dry, ensure you water as instructed above as the white bird plant loves wet well draining soil but not soggy soil. You can also use a soil probe, a handy tool to check the soil’s moisture deep and aerate overly damp soil.

Keeping outdoors

The white bird of paradise plant is resistant to the strong wind; it can be placed in pots and containers and kept on the home’s balconies or backyards with the condition of it having a shade and out of the full sun.

If you use a container made from organic materials for your Bird of Paradise, it is highly recommended you use a waterproof saucer underneath to protect your floors, as the accumulation of humidity beneath your container can damage your wooden floors and carpetings.

Your paradise care instructions should be strictly adhered to as the plant suffers when predisposed to low maintenance.

White Bird of Paradise Flowers (Strelitzia Nicolai)

Fun facts about the White Bird of Paradise

  • It is one of the largest bird species of the Paradise family and can grow up to 30 feet in height.
  • The White Bird of Paradise plant has lovely and glossy leaves. They are sometimes used as plates in seafood restaurants.
  • They are ornamental plants used to beautify the environment and can often be seen in poolsides, patios, restaurant gardens, hotels, etc.
  • The roots of the white bird of Paradise plant are invasions but not aggressive.
  • White Bird of Paradise plants tolerates drought and strong winds moderately.
  • They are upright and can fit into tight spaces.
  • To get a fuller plant, use multiple White Bird of Paradise Plants to make its arrangement look more prominent.
  • The breaking and splitting of this plant’s leaves do not necessarily cause concern. The splitting is a natural occurrence that helps the plant become more aerodynamic in wind and rain.
  • When cut down, the plants stay between one to two weeks before dying out.
  • The white bird of Paradise plant is mildly harmful to humans and pets, and if consumed, its Ingestion may cause mouth and stomach irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions About White Bird of Paradise

Below are some answers to questions you may have about the white bird of paradise. These answers will give you more insight into your favorite plant and its care.

How Much Light Does the White Bird of Paradise Need?

The Bird of Paradise species is a tropical plant that loves the sun to thrive. The plant enjoys 6 to 8 hours of natural sunlight, with rays possessing intensities between 400 – 800 FC (Foot Candles). Any value above or below the stipulated range is detrimental to its well-being as it leads to the plant’s slow drying out, drooping, and rotting.

What are the factors to consider when choosing the location of your White Bird of Paradise?

For the proper growth of your bird of Paradise plants, you need to place them in the right location as failing to do so will lead to severe damage or even death of the plant.

  1. The direction of Sunlight: Sunlight is vital for the growth and development of any plant life, though the needs of every plant differ as to why some prefer direct sunlight and others prefer indirect sunlight. For the white Bird of Paradise, both indirect light and full sun-rays are substantial for optimal growth.
  2. Season: this is another crucial factor to consider when choosing the location of your plant. The bird of paradise should deter highly concentrated explicit sunlight during winter months to prevent scorching of its leaves. It’s fairest to keep the plant in a position away from direct solid sun-rays. If kept outdoors should be kept under a shade during intense sunlight.
  3. Room Condition: this includes room humidity and temperature factors, especially if you search for the best environment to keep your bird of paradise. The ideal condition is a room with average room humidity and temperature ranging from 65 – 80°F( 18 – 27°C). It is also advised to keep your plant away from spots nearby temperature-changing elements such as a fireplace, air conditioners, or air vents.

What are the Signs that my White Bird of Paradise Isn’t Getting Enough Light?

Your plant can suffer from lighting; as we stated earlier, anything above or below the average range of sunlight is detrimental to the plant’s growth. These are the signs to show that your plant is suffering from sunlight:

  1. Leaning Towards Light Sources and Extended Internodes: This is a common problem with most indoor plants. When the plant is not getting enough sunlight, it elongates its stems or internodes to ensure it gets enough sunlight for its well-being, and while in this process, the plant becomes thinner till its structure cannot hold up the leaves and stems, leading to it being leggy. Also, some parts of plants like the branches, stems, and leaves tend to bend towards light, leading to inconsistent growth as some features grow well while some don’t.
  2. Retard growth: aside from the Winter months when it’s expected for plants to be dormant, failure of your plant to grow over a long time denotes it’s struggling to survive. In addition, it indicates your plant needs enough lighting to produce ample energy for growth. Also, suppose you discover that your Paradise bird doesn’t grow regular-sized leaves but instead rises out of smaller leaves. In that case, the reason is not far-fetched as your plant lacks sufficient strength to yield larger leaves because it didn’t photosynthesize appropriately due to low lighting.
  3. Abnormality of the leaves color: turning your white bird of paradise leaves to brownish is a common danger that most plants encounter due to insufficient light on their leaves. If not managed, it leads eventually to disintegration. Also, your plant’s leaves can increase in size to receive the right amount of light required for its growth, thus overworking itself and appearing dull.
  4. Leaves Drooping: your bird of Paradise plants are known to grow large foliages, which makes it so easy for them to droop when it’s not getting enough sunlight. This condition mainly occurs in winter when t’s cloudy and snowy.
  5. Wet soil: Another obvious evidence that your plant lacks good lighting is when you realize it takes a while for the water to dry up completely. Particularly in the middle of summer, evaporation rarely occurs, thereby leaving excess moisture in the soil. Excessive water in the soil surface can also lead to root rot.

What are the Signs That My Bird of Paradise Is Getting Too Much Light?

Like every living thing, too much sunlight can be hazardous for growth. In the case of the bird of paradise, it requires 6 to 8 hours of daylight for proper growth and development, and anything higher than that is disastrous. Listed below is what to watch to know that the sun is becoming too much for your plant.

  1. Wilting: the adequate time of sunlight for your Bird of Paradise is at most 8 hours per day. From 3 pm, the plant should be placed under a shade as it is no longer benefiting from sunlight but rather at risk of wilting away. Placing your plant with no form of shad exposes it to getting scourged from excessive sunlight as the leaves tend to turn brown, curl up, droop, and fall off. The same could happen to indoor plants when exposed to sunlight for more extended periods.
  2. Browning or yellowing of the Edges or Tips: The reason for this condition is the lack of sufficient water in the soil. This occurs because of excess sunlight and heat, which work together to provoke evaporation, meaning that with ample time under the sun, it leads to the insufficient flow of water to the leaves and, over time, causes the browning of the edge. Too much sunlight can also cause yellowing of the leaves, which harms the new leaves as it leaves them thick.
  3. Stunted Growth: Due to excess sunlight, especially in the middle of summer months, the leaves find it hard to keep up with the intense transpiration and, in the process, causes the stems and leaves to shrink.

What does the bird of Paradise flowers symbolize?

The white bird of paradise symbolizes joy, paradise, anticipation, and excitement. The plant also represents faithfulness, love, and thoughtfulness, making it the perfect romantic gift. It was the official flower for a ninth wedding anniversary, and, in Hawaiian culture, it symbolizes magnificence. It has also been said to mean having a good perspective on life. It is also known as the ultimate emblem of freedom.

Other Species of the Bird of Paradise Plants

The birds of paradise plants belong to the Strelitziaceae plant family with five main species in the Strelitzia genus. This bird of paradise species has long, broad leaves like the banana plant. They are plants of South African origin with tufted heads and uncanny beaks. They are tropical plants that grow in warm, humid regions. The bird of paradise is an attractive and gorgeous plant that maintain their soft evergreen foliage all year round.

The bird of paradise plants is pollinated by sunbirds, which use their spathe as a perch when visiting the flowers. The sunbird stands on the flower and opens, releasing pollen grains on its feet which it deposits on the next flower it visits. Strelitzia species lack natural insect pollinators; in areas void of sunbirds, they are hand pollinated to set seed successfully.

Below are the 4 major species of the bird of paradise plant:

Strelitzia reginae

This is the most beautiful giant bird species of all the birds of paradise species. It has a growth height of 40-48 inches and has long leathery leaves like that of the banana plant. Its leaves are stiff clumps that grow from a ground-level base, while its flower rests on top of a rigid stalk and comprises orange sepals and blue petals. Its flowers bloom sporadically as many as 25 times per year throughout the growing period.

Strelitzia alba

This giant bird species is an evergreen, herbaceous flowering perennial that grows up to 30 feet tall in normal conditions. It blooms from July to December in the northern hemisphere and grows wild in coastal areas of the Western Cape region of South Africa and Madagascar.

Strelitzia Caudata

This is also known as the wild mountain banana. It grows wild in the mountains of southern Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. It is likened to the traveler’s palm (Ravenala madagascariensis). The plant grows to 20 feet tall and sprouts black-beaked, white-tufted flowers.

Strelitzia Juncea

This is also known as the narrow-leaf bird of paradise. It has similar looks to Strelitzia reginae, with the difference of its leaves being reed-like instead of banana-shaped. Its orange and blue flowers are a little smaller than Strelitzia Reginea’s, which is three to six feet tall; this species makes a lovely cut flower or border in a tropical-style garden. When up to three to six feet tall, it can make a beautiful cut flower.

Final Thoughts

The white bird of paradise plant is a tropical plant of South African origin relating to a banana plant. The plant grows and thrives in a suitable condition and beautifies our homes and surroundings.

If you have been contemplating planting or buying a white bird of paradise plant, I believe that the above-listed tips will guide you on what to prepare and expect to ensure the well-being of your plant.

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