White Bird of Paradise Strelitzia nicolai

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
white bird of paradise


The plant commonly known as the Giant White Bird of Paradise is a striking and majestic perennial that boasts a strong, treelike structure. It has large, glossy leaves that are banana-like in shape, with a brilliant green color and a leathery texture. The leaves are arranged in a fan-like pattern and emerge from a central stalk. When the plant blooms, it produces remarkable flower structures that closely resemble a bird in flight. These flowers consist of a dark blue bract, or specialized leaf, which encases several smaller, white flowers. The bird-like appearance of the flowers gives the plant its common name. Over time, as the flowers mature and the seeds develop, the plant can also produce small, woody capsules containing the seeds. The flowers and foliage together create a lush, tropical feel, making the Giant White Bird of Paradise a popular choice for adding an exotic touch to gardens or interior spaces.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Giant Bird of Paradise, White Bird of Paradise, Wild Banana

    • Common names

      Strelitzia nicolai.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as the Giant White Bird of Paradise is considered to have a low level of toxicity to humans. Ingesting any part of the plant can cause mild symptoms such as gastrointestinal irritation, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is generally advised to keep plant parts out of the reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion.

    • To pets

      The Giant White Bird of Paradise is toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. If pets ingest any parts of this plant, they may experience symptoms such as vomiting, drooling, and oral irritation. In severe cases, difficulty swallowing and respiratory issues may arise. It is important to prevent pets from accessing this plant to minimize the risk of poisoning.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      20 feet (6.1 meters)

    • Spread

      10 feet (3 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      South Africa


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Adds a dramatic touch to landscapes and indoor spaces with its large, exotic foliage and bird-like flowers.
    • Shade Provider: Its broad leaves can create a natural shaded area in gardens, which can be especially beneficial in hot climates.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it is fairly drought-tolerant, requiring less frequent watering than many other plants.
    • Low Maintenance: Generally easy to care for and does not require frequent fertilization or pruning.
    • Long-Living: A sturdy and resilient plant that can live for many years, giving a lasting presence in any setting.
    • Wildlife Attractant: The flowers have a nectar that is appealing to birds, especially sunbirds, thus adding to biodiversity.
    • Coastal Tolerance: Can handle the salty and windy conditions often found in coastal areas.
    • Screening Plant: Due to its height and dense foliage, it is effective for creating privacy screens in gardens and balconies.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • The long and broad leaves of the Strelitzia nicolai, often known as the Giant White Bird of Paradise, are sometimes used by florists to create dramatic and exotic flower arrangements.
    • The fibrous material of the leaves can be used in crafts for making durable and natural-looking papers or textiles.
    • In some cultures, leaves of the Giant White Bird of Paradise are used in cooking as a wrap for grilling fish, imparting a subtle flavor and keeping the fish moist.
    • The plant can be used as a natural screen or privacy barrier in gardens due to its dense foliage and rapid growth.
    • The striking appearance of the Giant White Bird of Paradise is sometimes incorporated into landscape architecture as a focal point or to add a tropical ambiance.
    • The wood of the Strelitzia nicolai is occasionally used in the creation of small ornamental objects or as part of decorative wood panels.
    • The dried seed pods and flowers can be used to create unique and long-lasting floral displays or as components in dried flower crafts.
    • The hollowed-out stalks can serve as natural water channels or makeshift guttering in outdoor areas or gardens.
    • Leaves of the Giant White Bird of Paradise can be used as natural mulch or composting material, helping to enrich the soil as they decompose.
    • In photography and film, the plant's striking silhouette can be used to evoke an exotic or tropical setting.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Bird of Paradise is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Bird of Paradise is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Freedom: The giant White Bird of Paradise, with its large leaves and dramatic flowers, is often associated with freedom due to its uncaged-bird-like appearance when in bloom.
    • Beauty: Its striking shape and distinctive flowers are reminiscent of exotic birds, symbolizing beauty and uniqueness in the plant world.
    • Magnificence: The sheer size and the flamboyant flowers of the Strelitzia nicolai make it a symbol of magnificence and opulence.
    • Paradise: Native to South Africa, it evokes the allure of tropical paradises and is often used as an emblem of lush and exotic environments, representing an escape to paradise.
    • Royalty: Its botanical name being linked to royal history (Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz), the plant is sometimes associated with royalty and regal bearing.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The White Bird of Paradise, commonly known as Strelitzia nicolai, requires consistent watering to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Generally, it is best to water this plant once every one to two weeks, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Depending on the size of the plant and pot, use approximately half a gallon to two gallons of water for each watering session, depending on environmental conditions. Increase the frequency during the warmer months when the plant is actively growing and reduce it in cooler, dormant periods.

  • sunLight

    The White Bird of Paradise thrives in bright, indirect light and can tolerate some direct sunlight. The ideal spot for this plant is near a sunny window where it receives plenty of light but is shielded from the harsh midday sun. An east or west-facing window is often suitable for providing the light conditions it prefers.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The White Bird of Paradise enjoys warm temperatures and does best in a range between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate a minimum temperature of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum of around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. For optimal growth, keep it away from drafts and fluctuations in temperature, which could stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    The White Bird of Paradise may require pruning to remove old or damaged leaves and to promote a tidy appearance. Pruning is best done in spring or early summer, before the new growth period. Use clean, sharp tools to make clean cuts, removing only the necessary leaves, and avoid cutting into the main stem. Pruning can be done every year or as needed to maintain the desired shape and size.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for the White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) consists of a well-draining, loamy mixture with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. A mix of two parts loam, one part peat, and one part sand or perlite promotes healthy root growth and adequate drainage.

  • plantRepotting

    The White Bird of Paradise should be repotted every 2 to 3 years. The plant prefers to be slightly root-bound, so frequent repotting is not necessary, but it should be done when the roots fill up the pot to encourage further growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The White Bird of Paradise thrives in average to high humidity levels, ideally between 60% and 70%. Consistently high humidity will help maintain the health and lush appearance of its foliage.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, warmth, and space for White Bird of Paradise.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, protect from cold, enrich soil for White Bird of Paradise.

    • Hardiness zone

      9b-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of Strelitzia nicolai, commonly known as the Giant White Bird of Paradise, begins with seed germination, which requires warm temperatures and can take several weeks. After germination, seedlings develop into juvenile plants with shorter, paddle-shaped leaves that lack the characteristic split of mature foliage. As the plant matures, it develops its iconic large, banana-like leaves that can reach several meters in length and the distinctive splits appear along their edges. In its adult stage, which can take several years to reach, the plant produces a striking inflorescence resembling a bird's head, with white and blue flowers emerging from a purplish bract. These flowers are followed by orange to blue seed capsules containing seeds that can disperse to propagate new plants. The Giant White Bird of Paradise can live for many years, continually producing new leaves and flowers seasonally in a mature, healthy state.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propagation of the Strelitzia nicolai, commonly known as the Giant White Bird of Paradise or Wild Banana, is typically most successful during the warmer parts of the year, in spring and summer when the temperature is warm and conducive to growth. The most popular method of propagation for Strelitzia nicolai is by division of the plant's rhizomes. To propagate by division, carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently separate the rhizomes, making sure that each division has at least one shoot or leaf fan. Once separated, the rhizomes can be planted in individual pots filled with a well-draining soil mix. Water the new plants well and keep them in a warm, shaded environment until they establish their root systems, after which they can gradually be introduced to more light.