Strelitzia - Bird of Paradise
Seeing such a miracle, even in a photograph, not a single lover of indoor flowers will remain indifferent. A rare plant in terms of effectiveness is compared with the royal Strelitzia. Royal Strelitzia is a beautiful South African flower that has conquered the whole world with its exotic form. The flower of this magnificent plant looks like a bird's head with a bright crest and a long beak. Hence the other names of the plant: "flowers of the firebird", "bird of paradise." In their historical homeland, Strelitzia is simply called the "crane".
At the end of the eighteenth century, the Swedish botanist Per Thunberg found this plant in South Africa and gave it a name in honor of the wife of the English king George III Sophia-Charlotte, nee German duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a beautiful woman and a favorite of the people.
In Argentina, Los Angeles, and also on the Mediterranean coast, Strelitzia grows in open ground, amazing tourists with the luxury of its delightful flowers. It is not surprising that flower growers from more northern regions, including Russia, began to grow it as a houseplant in winter gardens or in tub culture, taking them out into the open ground for the summer. Strelitzia rarely grows above 1.5 m in a pot or wooden box.
Description of Strelitzia
Strelitzia Korelevskaya is an evergreen herb with leathery petiolate leaves of an elongated oval shape 45 cm long, resembling banana leaves. Petioles with their base form a low dense false stem. The flower has an asymmetric 6-membered perianth, its outer leaves are orange, the inner ones are dark blue.
Large flowers, 15 cm high, bloom in spring or summer and do not fade for several weeks. They are odorless, but rich in nectar. The amount of nectar is so much that it overflows with a boat, drops and trickles flow down the outer edges. In nature, small nectar birds pollinate flowers. When a bird touches a flower with its beak, its anthers seem to explode, “shoot”, throwing out pollen with force.
Natural habitat of strelitzia
Although strelitzia is called royal, but in nature it is a very unpretentious plant. In the wild, it grows abundantly in South Africa in the provinces of Cape and Natal, where the climate is very mild and the amount of rain is enough throughout the year. It grows along the coasts of rivers, the first is the areas cleared from the forest, burning, in a word - any vacant territory.
Reproduction of Strelitzia
The "bird of paradise" propagates by seeds, dividing the bush and jigging rooted lateral shoots.
With seed propagation they use only very fresh seeds, because they quickly lose their germination ability - already six months after ripening. Seeds should be prepared for sowing: peeled of orange hair crests. Before sowing in the soil, they are soaked for 1-2 days in water, but it is better, to accelerate germination, to withstand them in a solution of phytohormones, then planted in well-drained soil from a mixture of peat and leaf soil to a depth of 1.5 times the size of a seed .
When soaking and germinating it is necessary to maintain a constant temperature of at least 25 degrees. Lower temperatures delay the germination process. But even under such conditions they germinate unevenly and for a long time: from 1 month to 1 year or even more.
The first transplant into a well-drained soil is carried out in a phase of 2-3 sheets. Further transshipment of growing specimens is done depending on the filling of the pots with roots, without waiting for a very dense braiding of an earthen coma, which can adversely affect the growth rate. It is necessary to transplant carefully, without damaging very vulnerable fragile fleshy roots, this also affects the growth rate.
Only in the second year, seedlings are planted in a permanent place. They contain them in warmer conditions compared to adult plants. Young plants must be protected from direct sunlight, that is, they can burn sensitive leaves.
It is possible to expect the first flowering of plants grown by seed, not earlier than after 3-4 years, or even after 5-6 years.
African beauty can be propagatedrhizome division which is very fleshy in Strelitzia, as in all plants of the ginger detachment. When dividing, you need to ensure that each part has at least one shoot, preferably two. They begin dividing after flowering, which in indoor conditions can begin in late winter-early spring and lasts until May-June.
When propagated by lateral rooted shoots they are carefully separated, keeping the roots, and planted in separate pots. The soil mixture is made up of 2 parts of turf land, 1 part of leaf, 1 part of humus and 0.5 part of sand. At the bottom of the pot put a crock or drainage, and then the soil mixture. Rooting takes place at a temperature of 22 degrees.
Strelitzia - pretty slow growing plant, and, after separation of part of the rhizome, a young plant needs at least two years to grow a powerful, abundantly flowering bush from it.
Strelitzia Care Features
Young plants are transplanted every year in a new pot, the diameter of which is 2 cm larger than the previous one.
Older plants are transplanted less often, after 2-3 years, adding a little bone meal or superphosphate to the soil mixture. It is very important that there is no stagnation of water in pots or containers. In case of damage to the roots during transplantation, they are treated with crushed charcoal.
Strelitzia needs high pots, i.e. the root system develops mainly in length.
During budding and flowering, you can not disturb (move, rotate) Strelitzia.
Growing Strelitzia in room culture, it is necessary to provide good illumination; plentiful watering with water at room temperature (it is necessary to constantly maintain the soil in a wet state, but not to allow stagnation of water); frequent spraying with lukewarm water (to create high humidity); from spring to autumn, it is necessary to periodically feed - 2-3 times a month - with mineral and organic fertilizers for flowering plants, in turn (only within 2-3 months after flowering, when strelitzia has a dormant period, this is not necessary).
Summer Strelitzia growing in the room requires an influx of fresh air, it can be taken out into the open air, and can be put on the balcony. If this is not possible, then it is often necessary to ventilate the room in which the plant is located. In the open air, the plant is quite unpretentious to light: it develops well both in partial shade and in open areas with direct sunlight.
Winter is a period of rest. The plant should be indoors. Watering is rarely carried out when the top layer of the earth dries out, but do not allow the drying of an earthen coma. The optimum temperature in winter is 12-15 degrees. In winter, the plant sometimes suffers from dry air, it is recommended to periodically spray the leaves and dust them with a wet sponge. It is necessary to protect strelitzia from sudden changes in temperature and root hypothermia.
Strelitzia can be damaged by a scab and a kidney tick.
With your desire and diligence, this "bird of paradise" may well settle in your house.