We’re speaking plant care right this moment as I’ve put collectively a care information for Strelitzia, generally generally known as Chook of Paradise, Crane flower/ Crane plant or (confusingly) banana tree. In recent times, Strelitzia, or BoP as I usually seek advice from them, have actually grow to be extra broadly out there. When you’ve got been considering of buying considered one of these placing foliage houseplants I hope you discover this put up useful in understanding their care necessities a bit of higher.
In hotter climates Strelitzia develop outside as backyard crops, whereas in cooler situations like the UK, they make for a fantastically statuesque, indoor plant. As I at all times say in my Plant Care posts, occupied with the place your crops develop in nature will actually make it easier to to know their care wants. Additionally, realizing their plant family might help. Strelitzia are carefully associated to the Musaceae, or banana plant – each share a visible similarity with their massive, paddle-shaped leaves. Strelitzia is native to South Africa and is a species of evergreen tropical herbaceous plant.
During the last two years, I’ve observed a rise in demand for Birds of Paradise to be saved as houseplants. I feel it’s all the way down to their majestic look and their means to create a tropical, leafy look to an in any other case bizarre area. These crops have critical impression so for those who like a extra minimal model and might present ample situations, these are an important choice to contemplate. Please observe that these crops are usually thought of poisonous and dangerous if eaten, so preserve out of attain of kids or pets.
Within the put up, I’ll be overlaying the matters of:
- humidity + temperature
- leaf care
- potting combine (+ pots)
- propagation + pruning
BoP varieties: Strelitzia reginae vs. Strelitzia nicolai
There are two sorts of Chook of Paradise which can be hottest as houseplants. These are the Strelitzia reginae and the Strelitzia nicolai. Don’t be fooled in considering they’re comparable by way of scale and measurement although…
The reginae selection is comparatively petite in kind and might usually develop to 1-1.8 metres / 3-6 ft in top. It has longer, slimmer paddle-shaped foliage. In case you are fortunate sufficient in your plant to bloom, the flowers are a vibrant orange and blue and completely spectacular.
Then again, its relative, the Strelitzia nicolai is often known as the ‘Big’ Chook of Paradise. As you’ll be able to in all probability guess, that is the bigger selection which may attain round 3 metres / 9.8 ft in top when grown as a houseplant. Of their pure habitat, they’ll rival bushes by way of their scale and develop to a humungous 6 metres / 19 ft! In an analogous technique to banana (Musa) crops, nicolai leaves can tear and are extra rugged in look. The flowers on the enormous BoP are white in color, although each crops are fairly shy to come back into bloom in common family situations. However extra on that later.
While the reginae is extra broadly out there in my expertise, the nicolai does appear to be growing in recognition as a houseplant too.
At all times learn the label…
A pal of mine instructed me she’d picked up a Chook of Paradise plant when doing her grocery buying, it was early 2020 I feel. She was fairly new to houseplants and didn’t realise there have been completely different BoP’s to select from… and he or she unknowingly picked up a nicolai! Let’s simply say it’s practically hitting the ceiling by this level…! For many houses, a Strelitzia reginae is a extra manageable measurement to include into your area. However when you’ve got the peak for it, it will possibly develop to look fairly unbelievable.
The sunshine requirement for a cheerful Strelitzia is maybe the principle side of their care that the novice plant lover can overlook. On account of their scale and span (particularly the Strelitzia nicolai), these crops are sometimes relegated to the nook of a room. True, they’ll look beautiful on this location nevertheless it’s necessary to decide on a well-lit nook that receives brilliant, oblique gentle.
I’ve experimented with plant positioning in my earlier three houses and no doubt, the extra gentle my Strelitzia obtained, the happier it was. I’m primarily based within the northern hemisphere for reference. Throughout excessive summer time, you would possibly want to guard the plant from the direct solar because the leaves can burn if the depth is just too nice. In my previous residence (picture beneath) my plant was 0.5 metres from my south-west dealing with window and it thrived. Right here it obtained just a few hours of late afternoon sunshine. A place adjoining to a window will usually enable the plant to be barely sheltered from direct solar, which might help stop scorching. A light-weight web or voile is one other simple repair to filter the sunshine considerably – I discovered them notably helpful in my South dealing with area final Summer season.
Keep in mind that these are the situations which can be private to my present surroundings + are used as a information so that you can evaluate with your individual house. It’s necessary to additionally keep in mind that home windows might be fairly completely different in measurement + for those who stay in a constructed up space, with different buildings shut by, or if there are obstacles like bushes outdoors, this all has an impression on the depth of sunshine.
At house with my Strelitzia reginae in my previous residence (above) and the cottage I stayed at through the constructing works of the renovation (beneath):
During times of lively development, a Strelitzia likes to be watered completely earlier than permitting the highest layer of potting combine to dry out earlier than watering once more – across the prime inch or two. These crops have BIG ROOTS and might be heavy, so it’s not a type of crops that when it turns into gentle to select up, watering might be wanted. For my environmental situations, I discover I water my plant roughly as soon as each 7 days throughout rising season. Throughout Winter, development would possibly decelerate, or cease altogether if the temperatures are chilly sufficient. At this level, it’s very important to not overwater the BoP or else the roots can go mushy and decay. A rookie mistake is to maintain watering as ‘regular’ to attempt to promote development in case your plant has bought a bit of sleepy.
By way of watering, keep in mind that tepid (room temperature) water is at all times finest in your houseplants as something too chilly can shock them. If it’s in a single, take your Strelitzia out of the cache pot and water completely till water runs out of the drainage gap. It’s not a good suggestion to let your houseplants sit in water inside their pots. Additionally, in case your planter doesn’t have a drainage gap, be cautious of overwatering! The decrease leaves of a BoP will usually yellow if overwatered. Conversely, Strelitzia would possibly present indicators of drying out by curling their foliage inwards. When you battle to get your houseplant watering proper, a hygrometer might help to guage issues.
Beneath left exhibits a younger Strelitzia reginae plant when it fitted on my plant shelf within the residence (again proper)!
Humidity + Temperature
Contemplating their tropical backgrounds, it at all times surprises me simply how effectively Strelitzia do in typical house environments. They develop properly with out the necessity for any supplemental humidity – reasonable humidities are advantageous. Be sure you preserve your plant away from any draughts – too near open home windows or heaters are a no-no. Houseplants dislike sudden drops in temperature, and the BoP isn’t any exception. Strelitzia get pleasure from temperatures between 21°C-30°C / 70°F-86°F essentially the most and that is when they’re prone to be actively rising. They do tolerate temperatures all the way down to 13°C / 55°F although. They’re happiest at temperatures within the 20°C’s although – the colder the temperature, the slower the expansion.
Strelitzia leaf cleansing is a major a part of their care routine. Like Ficus crops, the paddle-shaped foliage is usually a little bit of a dust-magnet! Mud construct up veils the leaves and makes it more durable for the plant to photosynthesise. Birds of Paradise don’t at all times have that many leaves, so it’s necessary to maintain the leaves it does have clear. My Strelitzia is fairly heavy so I don’t take it to have a bathe anymore! As an alternative I exploit my stress sprayer (linked right here) and a clear, lint-free material. I truly like to make use of an previous t-shirt for this activity. Transferring to a hard-water space means my leaves actually do want an excellent wipe all the way down to keep away from water marks.
Birds of Paradise get pleasure from occasional feeding through the rising season. They aren’t heavy feeders in my expertise however common feeding might help to maintain your crops wholesome and powerful. I fertilise mine as soon as to twice a month with a balanced liquid houseplant feed at half the really helpful dilution charge. You would possibly encounter brown markings on the leaves in case your fertiliser is just too sturdy. As a plant that will get watered commonly you’re unlikely to come across any issues with fertiliser burn. However it’s good follow to test the potting combine just isn’t excessively dry earlier than feeding as a precaution. In case your local weather is kind of completely different to mine and your crops develop constantly year-round, then extra common fertilising is ok! The simplest technique to decide whether or not or to not feed is that if your plant has new leaves rising!
Giving your houseplants the right care is the easiest way to maintain them resilient to any potential pest pressures. The most typical purpose for a pest outbreak is commonly because of incorrect care, and/or very low humidities, coupled with excessive temperatures. Air move is a consideration too – luckily the form of Strelitzia crops imply the area round their elongated stems is mostly good. Permitting the air to flow into round your houseplants is helpful to all of them. Strive to not cram too many collectively as this could present beneficial situations for pests to congregate. In case you are new to houseplants, it’s at all times finest to take time to contemplate what varieties will work in your way of life / your family situations.
Pests to be careful for with Strelitzia are spider mites and mealy bugs. As sun-loving crops, please observe that these brighter gentle areas may also exacerbate any lurking pest issues. When you’ve got a recovering BoP, it’s finest to maintain in a extra ambient gentle spot for just a few weeks.
After I carry a brand new plant into my house, I’ll at all times quarantine it for just a few weeks. Then, I’ll give it a radical inspection in good gentle and infrequently a soil change earlier than introducing it to my different crops. As I’ve quite a lot of crops, this is a vital step in making certain my assortment just isn’t compromised by pests introduced in by new crops. It’s completely well worth the slight inconvenience of getting a ‘new plant gang’ hanging round on the kitchen desk.
When you discover a pest drawback, an insecticidal cleaning soap spray and tub (roots and all) is an efficient place to begin, earlier than showering down. After any therapy, I like to make use of SB plant invigorator both as a prepared to make use of spray, or you can even get a concentrated bottle to dilute right into a spray bottle your self. Be further cautious on extra delicate foliage and at all times check part of the plant first. Watch out to maintain out of direct gentle because the leaves shall be extra delicate after any pest therapy.
I’ve additionally used a neem oil resolution in a sprig bottle which can also be very efficient for one thing extra widespread. If it’s one thing very minor, a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol may also work. It would sound unconventional, however helpful bugs can actually assist to carry a extra widespread outbreak beneath management. They’re actually changing into extra broadly out there as a way of pest administration, however I’ve not tried this myself. When I’ve a pest concern with my crops, I at all times isolate them for plenty of weeks in my kitchen/quarantine zone and monitor earlier than reintroducing close to my different plant gang. When you uncover a pest concern, it’s at all times finest to hold out a radical test of any pots that had been situated close by, or any ones which can be usually extra delicate to an assault.
Initially, Strelitzia roots are LARGE! I’ve damaged a planter or two over the course of conserving a BoP… The roots can fill out the planter a lot that the previous pot would possibly must be reduce off! Sounds excessive, but when these roots, you’ll know what I imply. You may also discover them rising out by means of the drainage holes.
Early Spring is a perfect time to re-pot your plant if it wants it. Earlier than any repotting, water the plant just a few days beforehand to prep your plant for its pot improve. By way of repotting frequency, annual repotting on youthful crops is commonly ample. Let the roots dictate when the plant might do with a bigger pot. Improve the pot measurement regularly as large jumps in measurement aren’t advisable. Loosen the roots gently together with your palms, being cautious to not harm the chunky roots when doing so. For extra mature crops, it’s a good suggestion to carry off repotting too continuously. A pot-bound plant might help encourage flowering. See beneath for extra on that.
The potting combine that I’ve discovered to work for my Strelitzia is a free-draining gentle and ethereal mixture of peat-free houseplant compost, perlite + orchid bark. I’ll pop a hyperlink right here for the blogpost and part elements I exploit right here. A typical drawback is that some crops might be in poor high quality soil of their nursery pot, which is commonly too dense for the plant to be glad long-term. This will imply that the potting combine will keep saturated for longer than is finest in your plant. Getting to know how soil amendments can profit your crops is essential in conserving your houseplants glad.
A NOTE ON POTS:
The kind of pot you select to make use of can also be intrinsically linked to your combine and watering necessities. For me, I want to make use of nursery pots with the vast majority of my houseplants as a result of I discover they dry out too shortly in terracotta. Terracotta is way more porous and can wick the moisture away from the plant. When you intend to make use of terracotta for plant styling causes, you’ll be able to at all times use the terracotta as a canopy pot. That is private desire after all! In case you are a giant time over-waterer, you truly would possibly discover terracotta might be corrective in serving to to handle your over-zealous watering efforts! Nevertheless it’s a tough one to guage so watch out with crops that require extra frequent watering. Personally, I discover Strelitzia to dry out too shortly for me in terracotta.
Propagation + pruning
The most typical propagation technique for a Chook of Paradise is by division, however seed propagation can also be potential. From seed, the plant will take plenty of years to achieve ample maturity to provide flowers. To propagate Strelitzia by division, you should have finest success with a extra mature plant that has a developed root system. You’ll have the ability to observe in older crops that the expansion might be break up/divided into ‘clumps’ of plant. You’ll then have the ability to pot these up as you would like. Do keep in mind that propagation by division will possible trigger the ‘mother or father’ plant to skip a 12 months of blooming.
On account of their development behavior, it’s unlikely you’ll want to prune your Strelitzia. When you want to take away any leaves although, at all times use a pointy, sterile blade to cut again. Keep in mind to wash the blade between pruning various kinds of houseplants too. Most significantly although, watch out to not reduce the spathe if current. See beneath…
As we mentioned in the direction of the start of the blogpost, Strelitzia flowers really are a sight to behold. Flowering can happen when the plant has reached maturity of 3-4 years. Youthful crops might be potted on when vital, however because the BoP matures, be conscious of frequent re-potting. It’s because proscribing the roots is important in encouraging the plant to bloom. When the plant has reached its full maturity and top, look out for the expansion of a spathe. That is the place flowers will develop so make certain to not harm or prune this half! Additionally take further care of the spathe if repotting. You’ll additionally need to defend the flowers from harsh direct gentle.The flowers might be fairly elusive when the Strelitzia is grown as an indoor plant. When you can present optimum situations although, you would possibly simply witness a present of blooms in time! Persistence is essential right here.
I hope you favored this Strelitzia / Chook of Paradise plant care put up and thanks in your blogpost requests. As these crops mature, they’re high-impact architectural crops to have at house. While scripting this put up, I might need satisfied myself that I ought to add a Big BoP to my assortment… I can actually envisage it within the double top area within the Chapel renovation! You could find this put up beneath my ‘Plant Care Guides’ tab for those who want to refer again to it. Listed below are some pins to share or save too:
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