Strelitzia

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by soccerdad, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    My 3-or-so-years-old bird of paradise plants have reached about 2.5 feet tall, but as new leaves grow, the oldest ones die, so that all that I ever have are 2-4 healthy leaves.

    In detail: The oldest leaves (on the outside) turn brown and wither. They look like they are drying up, but the soil is in fact well-watered, and the plants are in a room with high humidity so that isn't what is happening. Slowly, over the course of a few months, they become completely withered. Finally I cut them off, leaving 2-3 new, taller, healthy leaves. Then new leaves start to grow - and now the leaves that I have just described start to wither in turn and the cycle repeats!

    At this rate I will end up with 5 plants each consisting or two or three 5 foot tall leaves.

    I have never been able to understand this, but the plants' 8" pots are starting to bulge on the bottom and it has crossed my mind that maybe the plants are too rootbound and are not getting enough nourishment to support many leaves.

    Does anyone know if this might be so? Or does anyone have any other explanation for this phenomenon?
     
  2. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Rootbound? Yes , and now is a time to repot up to another pot size..., they may be reacting to the cramped root space, and they need tons of direct Vancouver sunlight.... and you know how much that is? Daylight daylight and more daylight, thank goodness it is nearly spring!
     
  3. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Definitely agree with K Baron, re-pot - they don't do as well when roots have taken over the pot, they'll eventually break the pot, plastic, terracotta or ceramic! They manage okay with lower light but won't flower properly or grow as well as they do with decent sunlight. Warmth is pretty important too, so shady cool is not helping the situation.
     
  4. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks. I would prefer to re-pot when they were dormant, but they have never been dormant since I planted them so I'll repot this weekend (in fact they are in 6" pots, not 8" pots).

    Everything that I have read says that they bloom when cramped in their pots - I guess that I took that advice a bit too far.
     
  5. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    It is extremely difficult to bloom in our climate... even in greenhouses... I have yet to see them bloom, except for shipped retail specimens.
     
  6. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    Even mature taller plants can be difficult getting to bloom indoors for some people.
     
  7. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    But a man's reach should exceed his grasp ...
     
  8. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    I wonder if it's the seasonal difference or the fact thay are being grown indoors. From working with them at nurseries (here in Australia) I did notice those grown in shade did not produce anywhere near the flowers that were coming on those out in full sun. I guess it's hard when you have a nice warm summer but winter can be so cold to find a stable position for them. Try give it max sunlight possible (as suggested by K Baron) through the whole year and find a warm spot to fool it into thinking it's somewhere more tropical.
    I'll attach a picture of mine in flower for you, (maybe you could print it and peg it to your plant until you figure out a way to force it into flower? :})
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    By all means, keep reaching soccerdad...


    That is really a nice BOP. I'm feeling a little jealous about now!


    Ya know, I think your right about it being seasonal, we just don't have a long enough warm season. I have the white flowering BOP, love the leaves even it never flowers, but that would be a nice bonus. Better get the tape out:)
    The owner of the greenhouse where it was bought said that the white was easier to get to flower yours, ahhh maybe in Australia! There is one like yours in the greenhouse, it's huge, flowers everywhere, no white ones though..

    I plan to move it outdoors for the summer and get it used to the sun real slow and hope for a nice fat bud.
     
  10. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, I awoke to find work emergencies that occupied me to 12:30 pm Then I took #4 daughter driving for an hour - I think my hair, such as it is, is now permanently white - and then went to soccer game for #2 and #3 and then one for #4. Then returned to make the meal. Now it is 8:30 and finally I have time to repot my plants. We will see how they do. If only I hadn't decided that a bottle of Chardonnay was needed to complete the meal...
     
  11. Chester

    Chester Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, just give you all some hope for your strelitizias. I can get mine to bloom about twice a year and I live not too far from some of you. Victoria. It is possible alright.
     
  12. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    Chester,

    Do you grow, Strelitzia Nicolai? Or, Strelitzia Reginae? Do you grow yours indoors? How about fertilizer?

    Mine needs some serious re-potting because it's coming up out of it's pot.
     
  13. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    I'm surprised it's not cracking the pot.
     
  14. Chester

    Chester Active Member 10 Years

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    I grow S. reginae indoors. I only fertilize a bit in the summer, with RainGrow organic fertilizer. That may only be available in Canada. It's 4-2-3, and then occasionally I throw in some RainGrow Bloom-A-Long with is 0-12-0. Seems to do the trick.
     
  15. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    Chungii.
    Not yet, but it's up some and leaning.

    Chester,
    Thanks!
    I can probably find a bloom type fertilizer and give it a try, won't hurt...
     
  16. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, after repotting they seem to be growing very well. My kids commented that the roots looked like loathsome thick worms encircling the soil. Sort of a midgard serpent.

    Chester: I haven't noticed that fert in the stores; where do you buy it?
     
  17. Chester

    Chester Active Member 10 Years

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    I've purchased it in Thrifty's Markets, and Gardenworks. I've seen it at other grocery stores as well. Their website is www.raingrow.com so that might be able to help you find other suppliers in your area...
     
  18. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I planted the seeds for my strelitzia reginae about 8 years ago. They are all the regular type. except that a few years later I planted a few "Mandela's Gold".

    Six made it to maturity. Last year all except the Mandela's Gold bloomed. This year one has bloomed so far. I only got two or so flowers per plant, but I can say that:

    1. They do not need much heat. I do not think I have ever seen temperatures exceeding 80F - say 27C - even in the middle of the hottest day where I live near UBC (well, not toooo near - close to UBC the houses all cost $5 million+).

    2. They do not need a lot of light. In the summer I keep them on my front porch that is shaded by some tall Elm trees.

    3. They are happy to be completely root bound.

    4. They require very little watering.

    5. They require no fertilizer at all.

    Presumably they would flower more if I took more care of them, but they can definitely flower here in B.C. and they are very easy to grow.

    I may post pictures later this summer.
     
  19. Indignation

    Indignation New Member

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    That's amazing, well done! It almost goes against all the standard strelitzia growing advice that's out there. I do agree with you completely about the light, I started putting mine outside in direct sunlight a couple of years ago and the leaves would curl, and over a few weeks they started burning! Clearly sun burn so I started doing what you do now keeping them out of direct sun and only letting my remaining plants have weaker morning / evening sun.

    Also recently brought a Mandela's Gold variety, it seems to be very slow growing compared to the reginae which is a pity as I don't think it will reach the flowering size of the others for a good many years and seems that was true for yours too Soccerdad?
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  20. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    My Mandela's Gold is not yet flowering but it is as large as the others although significantly younger. You would not be able to guess which of the 6 is it and which are the 5 "regular" ones.
     

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