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A picture of a Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

Strelitzia nicolai

Also known as

Natal Wild Banana, Giant Bird of Paradise, White Bird of Paradise, Giant White Bird Of Paradise, Wild Banana, Natalse Wildepiesang, Isigude, Igceba, Inkamanga (Zulu), Ikhamanga, Isigude, Isigceba (Xhosa)

Full Sun
Easy care
Light watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size







  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

A photo of Bird of Paradise
A photo of Bird of Paradise
A photo of Bird of Paradise


Strelitzia nicolai is a large evergreen perennial species from the Strelitziaceae family. It produces showy foliage and flowers which resemble birds, hence the common name Giant Bird Of Paradise. The leaves are large and oblong in shape, measuring up to 1.5m in length, they are borne on long stems up to 2m tall. Flowers are coloured blue and white, from beak-like spathe structures. This striking plant is a popular choice for making a statement, however it needs a good amount of space so plant with care. It may be used to create a lush, tropical effect and to offset hard landscaping, buildings and pools. Withstands salty coastal winds, making it a good feature plant or screen for coastal gardens. Due to its large size, place towards the back of borders or as showstopper! This is a common feature plant. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal.

Common problems

Generally disease-free but it can suffer from Red Spider Mites, Mealybugs & Scale Insects when grown under glass.


Flowers can be harvested once they have opened and will last a few days in a vase.



To grow from seed, remove the orange arils and sow seed in a mixture of equal parts river sand and compost. Cover with a thin layer of compost and keep moist.


Divide root suckers in spring and plant into pots or directly into the soil.

Special Features

Attracts birds

Flowers provides nectar that attracts sunbirds, especially Olive Sunbirds and Grey Sunbirds. Vervet and Samango monkeys feed on the soft part of the flowers as well as on the orange aril of the seeds.

Drought resistant

The plant is is fairly drought tolerant once established.

Pot plant

It can be planted in large pots and will grow happily for a few years until it becomes too big for the pot.

Indoor plant

It can be grown indoors as a foliage plant, but it will most probably not flower. It needs high levels of light.

Wind break

Hedge plant

Wet sites