Scientific: Strelitzia nicholii
Common: giant bird of paradise
Family: Strelitizaceae
Origin: South Africa

Pronounciation: Stre-LIT-see-a ni-KO-lee-eye

Hardiness zones
Sunset
12-21 (with protection), 22-24
USDA 9 (w/ adequate protection), 10-11

Landscape Use: Large entry ways, large mall atriums, north sides of large buildings, shaded courtyards and patios, high density areas where where the urban microclaimtre of urban heating has created freeze free zones; poolside

Form & Character: Herbaceous large perennial, upright and rigid, very tropical.

Growth Habit: Moderately basal clumping to 15 feet in height with a 6 feet wide spread.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves are elongated to 4 feet long, leathery green with a dominate succulent midvein and extended sheathed petioles that emerge from trunk in one view plane, tend to tatter and tear in Phoenix; coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Beautiful, deep blue and mostly white, fruit inconspicuous.

Seasonal Color: Spring flowers

Temperature: Intolerant of freezing temperatures and temperatures about 100oF.

Light: Partial shade best in desert, no western sun, northern and protected eastern exposures are best.

Soil: Light to heavy, avoid high alkalinity.

Watering: Regular

Pruning: Remove spent flowers on a stalk as they senesce. Remove tattered foliage.

Propagation: Seed, some division of basal clumps every 5 years will generate a some young plants.

Disease and pests: Snails and slugs in LA, but none here in Phoenix.

Additional comments: This is the large landscape specimen plant that is too big for small landscape spaces. Very similar to Musa sp. (banana) in size and texture, but leaves are cupped upright about the midvein whereas banana leaves are reflexed downward, more cold tolerant.