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The Tale of the Strelitzia Nicolai – A Fascinating Flower's Journey


In December of 2015, a rare Strelitzia Nicolai flower was born at the New York Botanical Garden. The plant has also been known as the Bird of Paradise lily or the crane lily. It comes from South Africa and is extremely sensitive to light, moisture, and temperature. Last summer, we all watched with bated breath as the NYBG staff began their experiment to see if they could grow this extremely delicate flower again from seed. Strelitzia nicolai seeds are so small that over 1 million can fit in one teaspoon! When these tiny seeds first sprout, they look like little white hairs that grow into leaves about 3 inches long and about an inch wide. But when conditions are just right…watch out! The stalk of this awesome flower can reach up to 10 feet tall! In order



How to Grow a Strelitzia Nicolai: A Step by Step Guide

First, you’ll need to decide where to grow your Strelitzia Nicolai, and whether to plant it indoors or outdoors. It can tolerate a wide variety of temperatures, but prefers warm and humid climates, such as those found in Florida, Hawaii, and other southern states. If you choose to grow it indoors, you’ll need to keep the plant in a bright and sunny window. You can use grow lights if natural sunlight isn’t strong enough. If you live in a cooler or darker climate, you can also grow this plant indoors. Just make sure you have a warm and humid environment. Next, you’ll need to select a growing medium. Strelitzia nicolai can be grown in pots or in the ground. If you plan to grow it in a pot, use a commercial potting soil that is well-draining, rich in nutrients, and high in organic matter. If you plan to grow it in the ground, you can use either commercial soil or compost. Avoid using soil that contains fertilizer, since this can cause the Strelitzia nicolai flower to grow more quickly than you’d like, resulting in a plant that is too tall for its pot. Strelitzia Nicolai


Lighting and Temperature

The Strelitzia nicolai flower thrives in temperatures that hover around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can survive temperatures as low as 70 degrees if necessary. In fact, the plant’s ideal temperature is one that humans find fairly comfortable, so you won’t have to worry about keeping the house super warm just to accommodate your plant. The Strelitzia nicolai prefers full sunlight, so make sure you give your plant plenty of light. If you keep the plant indoors, you can use artificial light in the form of fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs should emit at least 10,000 lumens per bulb, and you should use two of them. Place the bulbs about 12 inches away from the leaves. You can also use sunlight from your windows as long as the plant isn’t in direct sunlight for more than a few hours per day.


Soil and Water

Strelitzia nicolai flowers prefer soil that is rich in nutrients, but that doesn’t contain any fertilizer. You can use commercial potting soil or compost to keep the plant nourished and healthy. The Strelitzia nicolai flowers prefer a soil that is on the dry side. The plant doesn’t need to be watered every day, but you should water it thoroughly once or twice per week unless you’re fortunate enough to live in a very humid climate. You should water your plant less frequently if you live in a dry climate. If the soil becomes too waterlogged, the Strelitzia nicolai flower will suffer from root rot. If you notice that your plant’s leaves are drooping, wilting, or have brown edges, you may have a root rot problem on your hands. Reduce the frequency with which you water the plant and consider using a plant fertilizer to help the plant recover more quickly from the soil being too waterlogged.



What can we say? We’re absolutely enamored with the Strelitzia Nicolai flower. This incredible plant can easily grow to be 10 feet tall, and its long yellow flowers are absolutely breathtaking. If you want to add a touch of exotic beauty to your home or garden, this is the flower for you. When you see how fragile and sensitive the Strelitzia nicolai is, you’ll appreciate just how special it is that a group of dedicated gardeners at the New York Botanical Garden were able to grow the plant from seed and have it flower again. This is an extremely tricky feat, and the team at the NYBG was able to do it with flying colors.

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