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STRELITZIA nicolai

Image of Strelitzia nicolai

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Strelitziaceae

Botanical Name

STRELITZIA nicolai

Plant Common Name

Giant Bird-of-Paradise, Natal Wild Banana

General Description

Giant or white bird-of-paradise is a popular plant for tropical and sub-tropical landscapes. It is an enormous clump-forming evergreen that is tree-like or banana-like in appearance. This South African native has huge oblong, leathery, gray-green leaves that split along their horizontal margins. These are clustered together and almost look fan-like in appearance. In early to mid spring several crested flowers of indigo, white and dark purple appear below their foliage.

Giant bird-of-paradise is a tough plant that does well in full to part sun and average well-drained soil, growing particularly lush if rich in organic matter. Moist soil in summer heat's results in lots of new, large leaves on progressively longer petiole stems that form an upright, trunk-like stem. Strong winds may shred them. Keep soil slightly drier in winter. It is a dramatic feature plant and works well along foundations or as a screen.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 14

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    15'-30' / 4.6m - 9.1m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Indigo, Dark Blue, Plum

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fruit Color

    Indigo, Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Sea Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Sea Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Sea Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Sea Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No