Strelitzia reginae is a bold structural plant, which forms large evergreen clumps of stiff leaves growing up from the base. The grey-green banana-like leaves grow about 5' in height and the flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. Mature plants are very floriferous with flowers in autumn, winter and spring.
Strelitzia reginae is an easy plant to grow in the garden. Plants do well in full sun to semi-shade, love a rich loamy soil and plenty of water throughout the year. They respond well to regular feeding with a slow release fertilizer and compost. They are however very tolerant plants and will thrive in most soils and can survive with very little water once established. The plants are also wind resistant and grow well in coastal gardens. Strelitzias are sensitive to cold and would need a sheltered position in areas with frost as the flowers and leaves are often damaged by frost. In very cold climates it is better to grow them in pots that could be moved indoors when freezing temperatures are expected.
Hardy zone 10-11
From seed, plants given ideal conditions will flower within 3 years. To get a mature flowering plant from seed takes about three to five years. For best results sow fresh seed in spring. Before sowing, remove the bright orange tuft of hairs attached to the seed (aril of each seed) and soak in a aqueous solution of ethrel at a concentration of 2000 ppm active constituent, for 48 hours. In practical terms this entails making up 6ml ethrel (39.5% active ingredient) to a litre of water. Sow in seedtrays filled with a well-drained soil medium at a depth of 1,5 times the size of the seed. A constant temperature of 25 C is most suitable for germination as low temperatures retard germination. Germination takes four to eight weeks. Seedlings should be a good size before transplanted (two to three leaves) into a well drained medium. Young strelitzia plants must be grown in shade, for the leaves tend to burn in direct sunlight. Regular repotting allows the young plant to develop rapidly. Restricting the root development retards growth.