The towering heights and beautiful light-blue to white tongue-like blossoms of Strelitzia nicolai, also known as the white bird of paradise or the natal wild banana, make it an attractive addition to any garden that has the room for it. Many gardeners don’t have the patience to grow the white bird of paradise, which needs to be at least two years old and growing under certain conditions to even have the possibility of blooming.
Plant the white bird of paradise either outdoors or in a greenhouse or sun room and 6 feet away from any other plant. Plant the white bird of paradise in a full sun to partial shade area with fertile and loamy soils and nighttime temperatures that don’t dip below 55 degress Fahrenheit. Keep the plant’s soil moistened, but not saturated or wet to the touch.
Apply fertilizer to the plant once per month during the warm season. Use 1 tsp. of ammonium sulphate per gallon of water at each watering, according to the the Exotic Gardening website, or a standard commercial fertilizer with a ratio of 20/10/20.
Add 3 to 4 inches of well-composted organic mulch to the area around the plant, says the University of Hawaii. Mulching provides the soil with nutrients, conserves water and prevents weeds from sprouting near the white bird of paradise.
Prune any dead or dying sections from the plant and wait for the plant’s flowers to bloom. White birds of paradise grown from plant divisions can flower within two years, while plants grown from seed can take as long as three to five years to blossom.