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They look a bit funny with their parrot-like appearance, the exotics from South Africa. In this country they are very popular as cut flowers, the Strelitzia. In addition, they also cut a fine figure as a house or container plant on the terrace and balcony. However, taking care of them is not very easy, because the flowers are quite demanding. In order to get the bird of paradise flower undamaged over the winter, a few precautions are necessary. Here are some tips.

Strelitzia overwinter

The Strelitzia is also known as the parrot flower or bird of paradise flower, grows in clumps and is also a perennial. There are different types. Depending on the species, they can reach between 80 and 200 centimeters in height. Typical of the evergreen banana plant are the flowers, which can largely be compared to the erected feather crests of birds of paradise.

The South African is spoiled by the sun and normally defies temperatures between 0 and 30 °C. In summer it can also confidently move into a sunny spot outdoors. However, it should be noted that the plants are perennial, but not hardy in our latitudes. In order to survive the winter unscathed, a few measures are necessary.

Houseplant or container plant?

Strelitzia can be kept as a houseplant all year round. However, they feel more comfortable outdoors in summer in a correspondingly large pot. In the end, the overwintering of the Strelitzia also depends on how they are kept. It should be noted that the parrot flower is usually a hibernation needed to gather new strength for lush flowering in the following year. For potted plants, this begins at the end of October/beginning of November.

With normal houseplants, it is not necessary to change anything about the way they are kept during the winter months. In principle, it can remain where it is for the rest of the year. Maintenance can also be maintained. When the plant takes a break here, it usually decides for itself. It usually takes place after flowering. Compared to potted plants, however, the winter break here is much shorter and with good care, indoor plants can sometimes have a winter break second flower take place in the year. However, the flowering splendor is a bit sparse and leaves a lot to be desired. However, there are a few things to note here

  • very bright location
  • Avoid a window seat on the north side
  • do not place directly near the heater
  • high humidity

notice: The warmer the room, the brighter the location for the Strelitzia must be.

Overwinter potted plants properly

Birds of paradise outdoors should definitely before the first frosts move into their winter quarters. It is advisable to plant these plants when temperatures outside drop into the single digits. Older plants are more robust and can tolerate temperatures around 0 °C for a short time at night, but never below. However, it cannot be ruled out that the parrot flower will still be damaged. Strelitzia as a potted plant is ideal for overwintering

  • a stairwell
  • hallway
  • frost-free garage
  • frost-free greenhouse or
  • moderately temperate conservatory.

The Strelitzia also need during the cool season

  • a light to sunny spot
  • Temperatures between 10 and maximum 15 °C
  • relatively high humidity
  • no draft
  • regular ventilation of the room

Of course, the Strelitzia can also tolerate temperatures around 5 °C in frost-free winter quarters, but then it has to be watered more often. At night, temperatures can even drop into the single digits. In cool temperatures, the plant stops growing and you can strengthen yourself. furthermore, the first flowers appear earlier than in locations that are too warm. Temperatures around 14 °C are ideal, then the first flower buds can sometimes appear at the end of winter. But it will be some time before they open up.

notice: It is important that the Strelitzias get plenty of light, even in winter. It is therefore advisable to provide additional lighting for rooms that are too dark.

Check for pest infestation

Before the Strelitzias move to their new quarters for the winter, they must be checked for pest infestation or other diseases. Strelitzia can very often be attacked by scale insects or aphids. These must be consistently fought before they are granted. Otherwise it can easily happen that these pests also spread to the other plants.

It is also necessary to remove the top layer of soil 1 to 2 centimeters deep, because pests and pathogens can also be found here. Then new potting soil is filled up. In addition, all faded flowers as well as old and dead plant parts should be removed. After that, the parrot flower can be allowed to hibernate.

Aphid infestation on a rose

Sufficient watering

The Strelitzia must also be planted during the winter watered regularly because they are evergreen plants. These evaporate moisture through their leaves. Sufficient water is necessary to preserve the leaves and prevent the plant from drying out. The root ball should never dry out completely. It should always be moderately moist. Furthermore, it should be noted

  • let the top layer of soil dry out
  • increase watering at temperatures below 10 °C
  • Avoid waterlogging

In cooler temperatures, the plants need more water. If the watering is then not sufficient, ultimately not as many flowers will be formed and the green leaves will slowly die off.

notice: In order to avoid waterlogging, smaller and smaller amounts of water should be given. As a result, however, it has to be watered more frequently.

Stop fertilizing completely

Already in autumn, before the Strelitzia are relocated, there is no longer fertilization. Even during the hibernation, no fertilizer is required. The plants would then put all their energy into forming new leaves and not into flowering as intended. The first application of fertilizer after hibernation occurs only in late spring. Liquid fertilizer for flowering plants can be used here.

Repot after hibernation

The potted plants are only cleared out when the days are getting warmer again and there is no longer any sign of frost. Moving outdoors is usually recommended after the ice saints, mid to late May. This is also a good time to repot larger plants. If pest infestation occurs during the hibernation, it should be repotted.

At the same time, there is also the possibility of dividing the rhizomes. This has a rejuvenating effect and the plants become more vital, stronger and healthier. But be careful, the clumps can quickly break apart, causing damage to the roots. Care should be taken when repotting

  • Pot twice the size of root ball
  • after pest infestation use a new pot
  • Soil mix from:
    • leaf soil
    • compost soil
    • loam
    • sand
    • rotted manure
  • Use earth in equal parts
  • Sand a little less

After repotting, the Strelitzia can then move back to a suitable place outdoors, but not directly into the blazing sun. The plant needs to get used to the sunlight again slowly, otherwise the leaves can quickly get sunburned.

notice: The parrot flower should get a shady to semi-shady spot outside for the first week or two. A few hours of sunshine in the morning and evening are sufficient. They can then be moved to their final location.

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