Strelitzia Reginae:This South African genus is a member of the Musaceae family. An evergreen perennial that will reach 1.5m—2m in most situations. It is grown for its spectacular flowers and are used all over the world for cut flowers.
Origin: South Africa, Eastern Cape of Good Hope, and Northern Natal.
Location: Reginae grows with other plants along riverbanks, coastal bush and clearings. They do not like heavy frosts. They like a mild climate with evenly distributed rain during the year.
Flowering: The orange petals and blue flowers on long stems will bloom most of the year. The warmer the climate, the longer period they will bloom.
Cultivation: The soil should be kept moist during the growing season. Plants that are planted in the ground will require a good fertiliser with a balanced high nitrogen base and, where possible, trace elements are beneficial. Water well in summer, less in winter. To fertilise pots, give a slow release fertiliser.
Culture:Strelitzia Reginae needs full sun to light shade with warm temperatures, when planted in pots keep them crowded for the best amount of blooms. In very cold climates it is better to grow them in pots that could be moved indoors when freezing temperatures are expected.
Propagation: Strelitzia are propagated by division or by seed. Seed is very erratic and may take up to 2 years to germinate (commercially, it only takes a few weeks). The plant is ornithophilous, which requires nectar-eating birds to pollinate its flowers. Each flower has male and female organs, but are not receptive to each other. In the wild the Sun Bird, which is native to South Africa, pollinates the flowers. Pollination occurs when the bird rests on the blue petals to sip the nectar. This in turn causes the blue petals to open, which coats the bird's feet and breast with pollen, which is deposited on the sticky part of the next Strelitzia flower they touch. The seed pods develop over the next six months and produce a pod with three sections of black seeds with bright orange arils.