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Strelitzia nicolai

White Bird of Paradise

The largest of the three species of Strelitzia from South Africa, the White Bird of Paradise will form a clump of several tall and slender trunks with distichous crowns of large, leathery, banana-like leaves, and carries large clusters of blue and white, birdlike flowers (hence the common name). S. alba will grow happily in all temperate and tropical areas that experience only light frosts.

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germination comments by our visitors
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Seeds from this species ...

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
This plant has bloomed after 4 years and it is looking great. I soaked them in water for 2 days with the water temp at 75 F. The sprouted after 2 months. It was really easy. My Giant bird of paradise is 7 feet tall.
Submitted on 23/09/2004 by one of our visitors

...difficult to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
Hi, a follow up to last message on 8th Feb 04; 4 remaining seed- the one 'bursting' at end went rotten, other 3 germinated, last being about 1year 2 weeks (late May), but very slow to make a root. I noticed that as the seed was about to germinate it pushed itself to the surface, having been only at shallow depth, it's perhaps best to leave them there as rotting may occur on the stem while root makes. Second lot of seed I sowed on 5th Feb 04, 1 germ. in about 30 days, 2nd followed but stem rotted (seed wasn't at surface). Still waiting on 5 more. The one from the last lot is very robust and has already got bigger than any from the first!
Submitted on 26/07/2004 by Janet Rowley garymitsi@aol.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I picked 6 of these seeds off a tree in PR. I put them in a pot under a tree i already had in full sunlight. the first one came up after 3 weeks and the others came up all in the next few weeks. the soil needs to be dry on top but moist under the surface. temp. should be around 75-85F.
Submitted on 20/03/2004 by Anton Chuidian wutang8364@yahoo.com

...difficult to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
planted 7 seeds 5th May 2003, 2 rotted, 1 just germinated in heated propogator late January 2004, another trying (end bursting but no root!). I soaked them about 2 days till sunk in water, planted in mix of peat, gritty soil and home made leafy compost, so while keeps moist is well drained. Over Winter left slightly drier, watered in mild spell just prior to germination. Propogator is on work bench just below south-facing window; gets any winter sun all day, in England. Temp. heated 68-72F, one vent open. Had just ordered more seed to try again! One sure way to get germination!
Submitted on 08/02/2004 by Janet Rowley garymitsi@aol.com

...very difficult to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
Tried to germinate these seeds, but had no luck. They rotted within about two months, so I threw them out. I am now attempting a second batch by a different method to see if it works better.
Submitted on 11/12/2002 by Leslie Price skinnychick2@yahoo.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
Remove the pink tuft and plant seed in a mix of 50% compost and 50% sand. I fine an airtight clear plastic container is best for the seeds to be planted in. Seed should be pushed into the medium, with just the tip that had the orange tuft showing. Damp down, do not overwater.Provide some heat from a propagator or airing cupboard(20°C-25°C), cover with glass or the lid. Keep it humid. My rarepalmseed.com seed germinated freely within 1 months and will continue for the next 4 months. When you see the seed starting to show a little white tip cover with a small amount of the growing mix and ensure that there is light. Plant up into a small pot. Can be grown and flower easily in the house, does in the UK.
Submitted on 22/05/2002 by Richard Evans richard@strelitzia.co.uk

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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