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Strelitzia - Bird of Paradise

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The Bird of Paradise, so aptly named, is the common name of Strelitzia, a magnificent and opulent South African perennial with an elegant habit, adorned with beautifully coloured flowers resembling the silhouette of an exotic bird.

The Bird of Paradise belongs to the Strelitziaceae family, its most famous representative being Strelitzia reginae, but the genus encompasses 5 species, all of which are native to clearings and riverbanks in South Africa. Some of them, like Strelitzia alba or S. nicolai, can reach heights of nearly 10 metres (33 feet).

Cultivated in containers, these plants will rarely exceed 2 metres (7 feet) in height. The Strelitzia develops into a large clump of long evergreen leaves, from which its curious inflorescences emerge during a long period in summer. Their colours vary depending on the species: bright orange and blue corolla, blue-violet and white, or purple-blue and reddish-brown. Highly ornamental, Strelitzia can only be grown in the ground in our mildest regions, in full sun and in fertile, well-drained soil. Elsewhere, it will be cultivated in containers and brought indoors during winter in a moderately heated interior, ideally in a temperate greenhouse or conservatory.

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