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Strelitzia reginae

Family: Strelitziaceae (Strelitzia family)

Common names: Crane Flower, Bird-of-Paradise (E); isigude (Z); Kraanvoelblom (A);

Native to: Southern Africa
Perennial, Shrub
A striking shrub/perennial with clumps of grey-green leaves and a unique orange and blue flower.

Strelitzia reginae

EVERGREEN

FULL SUN

SEMI-SHADE

SEMI FROST HARDY

MEDIUM WATER REQUIREMENTS

MEDIUM GROWER

ATTRACTS BIRDS

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

1.2m x 1.2m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Strelitzia reginae

DESCRIPTION

This bold structural plant produces unusually-shaped and striking flowers that are well loved by the floral industry.   The orange and purple flower resembles a brightly-coloured bird in flight.

Indigenous to the Eastern Cape, this tough evergreen perennial can withstand dry spells and can also tolerate mild frost, recovering quickly if affected.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Rocky grassland.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
Sunbirds and mousebirds will be seen harvesting nectar from these plants which are rich in nectar.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Water moderately.
MAINTENANCE
Strelitzia is low maintenance and will give you a stunning display for many years without needing to be split.
Cut back drying leaves and flower stalks to neaten the plant.
A very beneficial plant to grow for flower arrangements as the flowers and foliage are long-lasting in a vase.
LANDSCAPING USES
An architectural plant suitable for gardens of different sizes.
It is used in office complex gardens and parks.
It can be mass-planted for a stunning effect.
GARDEN THEMES
Forest, Rockery, Succulent, Woodland
FLOWERS
The strelitzia bears a unique flower that resembles a bright-coloured bird in flight (or a birds beak and head plumage) giving it the common name ‘Bird of Paradise’. The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks.
FOLIAGE
The grey-green banana-like leaves are evergreen and sometimes have a slight tinge of red in the central vein.
FRUIT
SEED
The black seeds are pea-sized with orange fuzz on one end.
PESTS & DISEASES
Strelitzia is rarely attacked by pests.
CULTIVATION
Strelitzia is easy to grow from seed if one is patient enough to wait 3-5 years for the plants to start producing flowers.
Germination is more successful if the seeds are fresh as older seeds develop a hard coat that prevents germination.
Remove the orange tufts from the seeds. Soak in lukewarm water for 24 hours. Scarify the seed lightly then sow in potting soil. Keep moist. Germination should occur in 2-3 months. Transplant to individual pots or ground when seedlings have 3-5 leaves.

39 Responses

  1. Hi Etienne

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    It’s great to hear from a Strelitzia farmer. We propagate plants on a hobby level as we purchase our plants from specialised growers like yourself. I have on a few occasions noticed the mildew/mould on the seeds in Gauteng but have not researched the cause of this. Perhaps you could contact a botanist or another Strelitzia grower for more details on this phenomena. Please do share your findings with us.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  2. I’m not sure who I am addressing but in any event “Hi there!”
    I’m a Strelitzia reginae farmer plying my trade very close to the little village of Kei Mouth in the Eastern Cape. I have approx. five hectares of lands under production. I supply only seeds to the export market. A lot of my seeds get damaged while in the pods, resulting in about a 30% crop loss. When the pods mature and open, oftentimes 1 to all three ovaries contain no seeds at all and are covered with what appears to be a sooty mould. (I suspect a secondary infestation). There is always an entry hole visible from the outside, into the pod, which is obviously made by the initial prime pest, although at what stage of the seedpod’s development this occurs, I still have to determine. In some of the very small developing pods (say 3-4 cm in length) I have found a couple of mealybugs but am almost sure that these are not the main culprit causing the damage and obliteration. I really need to get on top of this problem and wonder if you or any of your readers are able to point me in a direction??? Thanks so much. I look forward to your reply.

  3. Hi Jennifer

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook and for your feedback.

    It’s always interesting to hear about the popularity of our native plants abroad along with the fascinating local wildlife that frequents them.

    I’ve found that the dead flower stalks often serve as a refuge for smaller insects like spiders and beetles which can attract the insect eating birds as well. I’ve grown an appreciation of the decorative element of the old flower heads, plus there’s the added benefit of harvesting seeds.

    Good luck for your propagation exercise.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  4. Hi Glenice,
    Four years ago I moved from a very frosty spot to a house in town (Bendigo, Australia) whose main attraction was a veranda lined with lovely established strelitzias. Here too they are a fabulous bird attraction – mostly New Holland-honeyeaters, Blue-faced honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills. I usually dead-head them as soon as the colour has gone and the birds are no longer interested, but this year I’m later than usual and for the first time noticed the seeds. So I came to your site and will now have a go at propagating them. Thanks for the advice!

  5. Hi Pam

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    It sounds like your Strelitzia have been affected by frost. The plant should recover and grow some fresh healthy leaves this summer.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  6. Hi,
    I planted a strelitzia I’m my garden in June.
    It was really nice. But Since then the leaves are dry. Curdled up and brittle.
    It is in full sun.
    Can you advise on how to get it healthy again.
    Thank you

  7. Hi Tish

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Your plants will only produce seed if the flowers have been pollinated and conditions are favourable.

    It is likely that your young plants with just one flower may not produce seed.

    Leave the dead flower stalk on the plant as it takes several months for a seed pod to develop and mature.

    Please be patient as it may take several years before your plants start producing seed.

    Strelitzias grown from seed are exceptionally slow so you may be better off purchasing additional plants for your gardening goal.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  8. Hi Glenice. I purchased 2 young Strelitzia plants in their plastic bags from a plant broker around June 2020. I left them in a secluded area for protection from the cold (winter). The one plant already had a flower which had opened since I transplanted them into the garden approximately a week ago. Could you please explain to me precisely where I could find the seed pods, as I would like to plant as many as I possible for transplanting to a bigger area on my sidewalk.
    Regards
    Tish Trueman.

  9. Hi Alain

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    It sounds like your seeds are not mature and may not germinate. However, you can give it a try and you may have some success.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  10. Hi there,

    I brought a Strelitzia reginae seed pod back from my holiday, not knowing that the pod had to open by itself in order for the seeds to ripen. The flower was already dried up and the pod as well, though. I opened the still pretty hard seed pod at home and the seeds are not as deep black as on the pictures, some are even a bit light brown. The tufts are perfectly orange, though. But I guess they are not fully ripe… Do they after-ripen? What should I do? Can you help me?

    Thank you for your time.

    Kind regards,

    Alain Noel

  11. Hi Mathilde

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Generally, the lifespan of a plant will depend on the growing conditions.

    Strelitzia reginae tends to recover from a hail storm with the new leaves growing erect. To keep the plant neat and allow for air circulation, it is best to remove the broken and dead leaf stalks as close to the base as possible. This method of thinning-out of the plant takes time to perform, but allows it to regenerate new growth without mis-shaping the plant.

    Be careful when carrying this out as it is likely to disturb some creatures that have used this dense cover as an ideal home!

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  12. Good day, I am wondering if you can help me. I have a big, old strelizia bush. I always cut the dead flowers and old leaves. The bush is sort of becomming scruffy and falling appart. Especially after a big hail storm we had. I want to know how drastic can I trim the bush back. How do I get rid of the old hard stalks in the bush? I tried pulling on them but they do not come out. Does a strelizia bush have a ‘life time’. The bush is probably 45-50 years old.

  13. Hi Thomas

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    It’s best to sow freshly harvested seeds or within one growing season as the viability of seeds is compromised if the storage conditions are not optimal.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  14. Hi Faith

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    You’ll need to contact your local nurseries for this as I’m not sure whether there is demand for Strelitzia reginae seeds.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  15. Hi John

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    The seeds of Strelitzia reginae are ready for harvesting when the seedpods split open. The seeds tend to remain on the plant for several weeks before dispersing naturally.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  16. hi, we live in new zealand and have a number of these plants, when is the best time to harvest the seeds?
    thanks

  17. Hi Bheki

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    I’m not sure whether any nurseries would have interest in your seeds but you could try contacting your local nurseries to see whether they are interested.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  18. Hi

    I’m Bheki Jeza,I’m wondering if you can help me regarding these seeds(strelizia) I’ve started collecting them and I have plenty of them and there are people who buy them,do you by any chance know what they do with them

    Many thanks Bheki Jeza
    0842291847
    [email protected]

  19. Hi Kirsten

    Yes, you’re welcome to use material from the site.

    I do have additional pictures, so let me know if there’s anything specific that you’re looking for.

    I’d also love to read your finished project at some stage.

    All the best.

    Glenice

  20. Hi there,

    I am doing a project on strelitzias and I was wondering if I could use some of your photographs? I would cite and reference them, of course.

    Thank you for your time.

    Kind regards,

    Kirsten

  21. Hi Talitha

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    I think your seeds may not germinate as it sounds like they’ve a fungal infection.

    I may be wrong though, so give it a try and see if any grow.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  22. Hi Lynette

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Picking a flower won’t affect the future flowering of your plant.

    The appearance of the next flower will depend on the size of your plant. Strelitzia generally start flowering from 5 years, depending on the growing conditions.

    Whilst they make an attractive and long-lasting cut flower, I prefer to leave the flowers on the plant as it benefits with wildlife (sunbirds, weavers, bees, etc) who visit it for the nectar and insect life which uses the crevices for shelter.
    Flourish!
    Glenice

  23. Dear all,if I pick a flower while plant is still in bloom,what effect will it have on the plant.? When will the next flower appear? Thank you.

  24. Hi Glenice

    I cut off the strelitzia stalks as the flowers were dry and I saved the fruit. When I opened them I noticed the fruit are still white with white fluff not black with orange fluff. Do I need to wait for the fruit to dry before I try and germinate them?

  25. Hi Lisanne

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Strelitzia prefers a well-drained soil. However, I’ve seen some growing successfully in a clay soil. Remember to add lots of compost and mulch to help improve your clay soil.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  26. Hi Pete

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    I’ve had success with Strelitzia reginae, so Strelitzia juncea should grow with the same method:

    Soak fresh seeds in hot water for 24-48 hours.
    Before planting, remove the orange tuft of hairs from the seed.
    Plant in a seedling mix of topsoil and compost (50:50).
    Keep moist and germination should be within 4-6 weeks.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  27. Hi All
    I have a number of Strelitzia Jancea seeds. My last batch did not germinate but I am persistent and would like to plant a few more.
    Following the recommendations of freezing, soaking then scarifying what is the best time of the year to plant these gems?
    Peter

  28. Hi Louise

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    It is best to divide and split Strelitzia reginae in spring. However, it can still be done in summer. Try to plan this task for the cooler part of the day to reduce the stress on the plant.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  29. Hi Anne

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    I’m not sure about the red tufts. It could be a related species. Please send me pictures of the mother plant if you can.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  30. Amazing plant 😀 I have similar seeds, but with red ‘tuffs’ instead of orange, is it the same species?

  31. Hi Shane

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Mandela’s Gold is stunning.

    Enjoy your wildlife-friendly garden.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  32. Lovely plant. I used the yellow (apparently rare) variety ‘Mandela’s Gold’ as a central focal point in my garden. Within the first day of planting it there was already a sunbird happily feeding on it!

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