The giant bird of paradise, Strelitizia nicolai, is sometimes referred to as the white bird of paradise. This tropical native much prefers living outdoors. While nikolai specimens can be grown inside, they probably won't bloom. This is a plant that truly adores the heat. Daytime temperatures should be above 65 degrees F, and overnights mustn't fall below 50 F for nicolai to thrive. A healthy adult giant bird of paradise at least several years of age can potentially produce up to 36 flower spikes during any single blooming flush throughout the year. The healthier and happier this plant is, the better its blooming performance will be. There are a few care and maintenance basics that promote nicolai flowering activity.
Give your giant bird of paradise at least 6 feet of space between it and any other plant. This large tropical requires plenty of room for maximum bloom production. Provide all the bright sunshine possible.
Water the giant bird of paradise slowly and thoroughly. The soil should be evenly moist, but not wet. These plants won't tolerate wet feet. Allow the surface to become dry to the touch before watering again throughout the growing season. During the winter months, let the planting area dry completely before watering again.
Feed your giant bird of paradise a complete, slow-release fertilizer for blooming plants every three months for best blooming performance. Applying up to about 1 lb. of a complete product for each mature clump is typical. However, due to variations between manufacturers, follow the packaging instructions carefully.
Apply 3 or 4 inches of organic mulch such as well-rotted manure or compost. This will provide essential micronutrients in addition to regular feedings. Mulching also conserves moisture and discourages weed growth.
Cut blooming spikes freely for your arrangements. Each stalk delivers between one and three flowers. These cut blooms will last up to two weeks with proper care.
Prune dead leaves and blooms from your giant bird of paradise as they occur. These plants are not self-cleaning, so dead material will remain on them until manually removed.