Strelitzia Nicolai - The Giant White Bird of Paradise

If you want to fill your house with the most spectacular indoor plant, look no further than this gorgeous Bird of Paradise.

By: THURSD. | 06-04-2024 | 7 min read
Indoor Plants
Houseplant queen Strelitzia Nicolai header on Thursd

The Strelitzia Nicolai, also known as the white-flowered Bird of Paradise, is here to show you why you also need it in your indoor plant parent journey. Pay close attention because it's bound to impress you big time with its huge leaves.

Everything to Know About Strelitzia Nicolai

If you're a little confused about information about the famous Bird of Paradise plant, don't panic because you're about to become a pro at differentiating the two most popular varieties. While the most known visual version of the Bird of Paradise plant is the one featuring bright orange leaves (Strelitzia Reginae), the Strelitzia Nicolai ensembles the same shape, but the biggest difference is the color of the leaves.


Strelitzia Nicolai plant on Thursd
Photo: Bamboo Land


Strelitzia Nicolai is known as the 'giant white version' of Bird of Paradise. Why do people love it so much? Stay tuned to find out why you need this indoor plant ASAP in your life.

Strelitzia Nicolai Indoor Plant

What is there not to love about this indoor beauty? Its appearance, the way it delineates spaces, and the touch of tropical flair it brings to any setting. Its ease of maintenance is one of the main characteristics that capture the attention of many plant lovers. Strelitzia Nicolai will repay you month after month, summer and winter, with magnificent, gigantic leaves if you give it a big, (very big), and light, (extremely bright), location. Read the article 'The Best 6 Big Leaf Houseplants for 2023' to find out what plant gems can transform your indoor spaces.



Strelitzia Nicolai queen of indoor plants on Thursd
Photo: Selvaviva


You won't be let down by it, but be cautious! Not everyone should grow this plant, and not every location should. Therefore, make sure you have the necessary space before going out and purchasing a Strelitzia Nicolai because it will grow BIG! See also 'Bird of Paradise - Is the Strelitzia The Queen of the Tropical Indoor Plant World?'

Facts About Strelitzia Nicolai AKA the Giant White Bird of Paradise

The giant white bird of paradise is native to South Africa and is a member of the Strelitziaceae family. The intriguing thing is in the species you only find three of them in the genus:

But of course, the main show stealer on this occasion is the Strelitzia Nicolai. This plant has banana-like leaves that grow from clumping stalks arranged into a leaf fan position on the uppermost part of the trunk.


Leaves of Strelitzia Nicolai closeup on Thursd
Photo: My Tasteful Space


Another exciting thing about Strelitzia Nicolai is the outer leaf splitting, making it look like a giant bird with white flowers and a dark blue tongue. Did you know a mature plant can reach up to twenty feet tall, also making it a popular plant for gardens? But it is indeed mostly seen in indoor spaces (that have the capacity) to fit it in.


Strelitzia Nicolai huge houseplant on Thursd
Photo: Twig Flowers


Further, Strelitzia Nicolai is an exotic plant known as the 'wild Cape banana', 'white-flowered wild banana', 'Kaapse witwildepiesang' (Afrikaans), 'bird of paradise', and 'isigude esimbalimhlophe' (Nguni).

The Symbolism of Strelitzia Plants

Strelitzia, aka the Bird of Paradise plant, is known as the ultimate symbol of paradise and freedom. Due to its tropical nature, this flower also symbolizes freedom and joy. Although birds of paradise are best known for their bright orange and blue colors, their flowers can also be white, featured in the Strelitzia Nicolai variety, but the symbolism at the end of the day is the same. Strelitzia is a plant that will for sure endure positive feelings in your life.

By the way, do you know about the plants that will be trending in 2023? Read the article 'These Are the Trending Houseplants for 2023'.


Strelitzia Nicolai special symbolism on Thursd
Photo: House of Plants


How to Care for Strelitzia Nicolai

If you're ready to implement Strelitzia Nicolai in your home's interior spaces, you're in the right place. Taking care of a plant appropriately is key for it to survive longer and look prettier always.

1. Light Requirements

Place your Strelitzia Nicolai plant away from air vents and drafts where the plant will receive at least four hours of southern, western, or eastern exposure. Although Strelitzia Nicolai can handle medium light levels, intense light is always preferred because it is necessary for long-term growth. So for this gorgeous plant to thrive, the more light it receives, the better. Always keep that in mind!


Strelitzia Nicolai lighting requirements on Thursd
Photo: The Plant Corner


2. Water Requirements

Always evaluate your plant's watering requirements as soon as you get one. It is important to check the soil's moisture content first to make sure it isn't wet directly under the surface before giving your plant a drink. A soil probe is a very practical equipment that can be used to aerate too damp soil as well as assess the soil moisture levels deep within a planter.

The ideal conditions for Strelitzia Nicolai are moist but not soggy soil and a little bit of air space between waterings. While being careful not to overwater, try to prevent the soil from drying out completely inside the pot.


Strelitzia Nicolai watering on Thursd
Photo: Plant Culture


Important: Birds of Paradise go through a 'resting' period and need less water during the winter when there is less sunshine available because of the sun's elongated orbit. If the plant is not close to a dry heat source, you can reduce the amount of water provided from October to February. In general, changing the amount of water delivered is preferable to changing the watering frequency.

3. Fertilizer

Feed with a diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. Alternatively and especially if outdoors you can cover the soil with a 2.5 cm layer of organic compost. Scrape the compost into the top layer of soil, then water thoroughly.

4. Humidity Levels

High humidity levels are ideal for this plant. The usual household humidity levels, which can be quite low in the summer when the air conditioner is running nonstop, are tolerated fairly well, though. The goal is to counteract the reduced humidity level by giving your Strelitzia Nicolai more frequent waterings, misting it, and possibly even contemplating pairing it with other plants of a similar size.


Humidity levels for Strelitzia Nicolai to thrive on Thursd
Photo: Popsugar


5. Trimming Its Leaves

Trim away older leaves on the Strelitzia Nicolai Bird of Paradise, as they droop over time and develop more splits. New leaves emerge always from the center and keep the plant full and balanced.

Split Leaves in Strelitzia Nicolai

The real question is: should you worry when you see your Strelitzia Nicolai's leaves splitting? The simple answer is no. On the giant white Bird of Paradise, splitting leaves is very normal and natural. The plant's splits are an evolutionary adaptation that lets wind travel through the leaves, preventing the leaves from acting as huge sails.


Split leaves in Strelitzia Nicolai is normal on Thursd
Photo: Plant Drop


As fresh leaves grow and fill out the plant, older leaves that have more splits over time can be clipped. If the plant appears to be splitting quickly, check its location to ensure it is not in a windy or drafty area and is getting enough light and water. Leaf splitting can also be stopped and slowed down by increasing the humidity around your plant with a humidifier or frequent misting.

Repotting Strelitzia Nicolai

Strelitzia Nicolai grows quickly, therefore you should anticipate repotting your plant at least once a year until it reaches a plateau size and you need to start dividing it. Repotting plants involves more than simply increasing the size of the pots; it also involves giving the roots a thorough wash to check on their health and refilling the nutrient-depleted soil.


Repotting Strelitzia Nicolai on Thursd
Photo: Potted

Therefore, it is a good habit to repot your Strelitzia anyway, even in the same pot, to refresh the soil, whether or not you believe it needs a bigger container. Your plant will thrive in a soil mixture that drains effectively. To improve drainage, you can purchase a basic potting mix and add a significant amount of perlite. Click here to learn more about repotting Strelitzia Nicolai.

Propagating Strelitzia Nicolai

The best way to propagate your Strelitzia Nicolai plant is by division. Of course, you could accomplish it using seeds or suckers, but the division methods work better. Your enormous Bird of Paradise plant may occasionally self-produce if you're lucky. Then, when the repotting season comes around, all you have to do is divide the rhizomes.


Strelitzia Nicolai propagation on Thursd
Photo: Plant Life


If you want to be successful with your Strelitzia Nicolai, these are all very important recommendations, tips, and useful information to take into account. Now go and make your giant bird of paradise thrive and vibe!



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