Strelitziaceae (formerly Musaceae, the banana family)
Evergreen soft wooded perennial.
4m+x 2 -3m
A trunkless clump of large ascending ovate leaves arising from a rhizome, the flowers are held above the foliage.
Radical (issue from ground level near the roots), blade - leathery, oblong / ovate, greenish blue to 0.5m long, margin entire, petiole to 1m long.
The flower head is very complex in Strelitzia spp. White sepals and light blue petal. There are usually 4 to 10 flowers arising from a purplish blue spathe on a 0.5 to 1m stem. Sometimes two flower heads will develop on one flower stem. Flowering can vary, main flowering mid autumn through to the end of spring. Spot flowering may occur at any time during the year.
A three celled soft wooded capsule containing many seeds. The faded flowers are usually removed during general cultivation so the fruits are often not seen.
Bark / Trunk:
Vigour / Longevity:
Slow growing, long lived.
Best flowering in full sun, in a warm sheltered position. Will grow well in part sun but flowering is reduced.
Not frost tolerant (easily damaged), drought tolerant once established, chlorine tolerant, hardy to neglect once established.
Soil / Drainage:
Best growth on moist, well drained, sandy loam soils with added organic matter. Can tolerate clay soils as long as the drainage is at least moderate.
Remove spent flowers and leaves as they form, cut as close to the base of the plant as possible. If any part of the plant becomes too congested division is recommended. If division of the clump is not desirable or too difficult (these plants have strong r
While not needed once established, regular watering, or deep watering at regular intervals, does promote better growth and flowering.
Best growth and flowering with frequent heavy feedings, will survive very well without any extra fertiliser.
Pests / Diseases:
White Scale can be a problem on severely stressed plants.
Architectural accent plant, tropical effect plant, tubs, pots, borders, cut flower and excellent for hot, dry, drought affected areas.
© Text reproduced here with the kind permission of Tony Wilson and Barck Books.