Strelitzia: Houseplant of the Month for September 2020

The story of Strelitzia
Strelitzia is an eye-catching character with tropical looks that lives up to its nickname of bird of paradise flower. The plant has upright stems and sturdy upward-pointing greyish leaves. Strelitzia reginae’s eye-catching inflorescence is characterised by horizontal bracts from which orange and dark blue petals arise. The plant flowers very late in the season because the large flowers need more time to develop. September is therefore the ideal month to purchase this late bloomer. Even without flowers the plant is a magnificent houseplant thanks to the attractive long upward-pointing leaves. 

In South Africa, from where Strelitzia originates, the plant is pollinated by birds because they can easily land on the sturdy flowers. The plant is a member of the Strelitziaceae family which includes four species, of which Strelitzia reginae is the best known. The plant is named after the wife of the English King George III, Charlotte von Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who loved plants. The second name reginae means ‘of the Queen’. Strelitzia travelled from South Africa to Europe at the start of the 18th century.

Strelitzia range
There are various Strelitzia species that can all be identified by the upright stems with sturdy greyish leaves. The remarkable flowers are characteristic of this plant. The most common species is S. reginae with bracts from which bright orange and blue flowers emerge. A less well-known species is S. nicolai with much larger green leaves. This plant is trickier to bring into flower, and is therefore also used as a decorative foliage plant. Many Strelitzia flowers and plants are imported from regions around the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.

What to look for when buying Strelitzia

Care tips for customers 


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