Strelitzia: Houseplant of the Month for September
Large feathery leaves make Strelitzia an impressive plant that will treat you to stunning exotic flowers – once you get to know each other a bit better.
Impressive foliage plant
Strelitzia’s large green leaves create an instant jungle feel in your home. This herbaceous plant grows in South Africa where it can reach a height of ten metres, although it won’t grow that big in the living room. Strelitzia nicolai and Strelitzia reginae are the most common houseplant species.
Strelitzia nicolai is a rugged green plant with XXL leaves from top to bottom. As the leaves become older they often develop some fringes that further reinforce this plant’s orangery feeling. It only blooms – with blue and white flowers – when it’s a couple of years old and has grown to a decent size.
Strelitzia reginae usually features more stem at the base with a rich crown of large green leaves above. This species also take some time to start flowering, but when it does it’s stunning: a grey wrapper reveals fabulous orange and blue petals that have earned it the nickname of bird of paradise flower.
There’s no plant that matches the zeitgeist better than Strelitzia. Perfect as must-have greenery, liberated enough to decide for itself when it wants to flower, and a nice balance between masculinity and femininity. And it’s a plant that is a bit different, and with that distinctiveness it also makes a statement about rejecting the perfect picture that more and more people are turning their back on. Even the shape of the flower suggests freedom: it looks just like a bird in flight.
- As an exotic beauty, Strelitzia is named after Charlotte van Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of the British King George III.
- The plan represents joy and Paradise, but also being attentive and having a positive view of life.
- Famous artist Georgia O’Keeffe painted ‘White Bird of Paradise’ when she was staying in Hawaii. The painting of a Strelitzia is one of the most famous artworks of the 1940s.
How to style Strelizia
Industrial materials, bold colours like yellow and blue and powerful patterns – line markings, graffiti designs – suit Strelizia well and fit with the trend that rejects perfection. Real and artificial mix in this style – you decide for yourself what you find beautiful. A charity shop would be the perfect spot to find a nice pot for your Strelizia, preferably one with a distinctive Seventies vibe. The combination of old and new is bang on trend: not perfect, but real.
Honesty above all
In order to be totally transparent, we should say that you buy Strelizia as a foliage plant. In order to show off how beautifully it will flower after a while, many growers add one or more artificial flowers. They cannot be distinguished from the real thing, and it’s up to you what you do with them. They look very cheerful in any case, fit with the style trend around mixing real and artificial elements, and they show you what you’re aiming for when you buy a Strelizia.
Caring for Strelizia
- Strelizia likes a light and sunny spot.
- The soil can be slightly damp, but not wet.
- Give some plant food twice a month.
- You can remove leaves that are no longer attractive.
For more information see: www.Thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 21 Agosto 2020