White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) is a stunning plant worthy of its name. It’s much larger than its similarly named cousin, reaching heights up to 30 feet in the right plant hardiness zone. Its foliage is gorgeous on its own. However, its flowers are equally as beautiful. We understand your disappointment if it’s not blooming. Let’s see if we can get to the root of the problem.
Reasons for the Lack of Blooms
We can find some clues when we consider where the plant originated. White Bird of Paradise is native to subtropical Africa. It’s an evergreen plant that seems tolerant of just about everything, whether it’s salt, drought, or heat. That makes it easy to grow. However, it takes time for a plant as large as the White Bird of Paradise to reach this size. That’s not unusual. For example, grape vines take 3 years to produce fruit.
Lack of Sunlight
We mentioned where this plant originated. It has also been naturalized in Mexico. If you look at the solar irradiance data for this area, you see that it gets a lot of sun every day. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zones are 9b to 11. If yours isn’t blooming, it might not be getting enough light.
Plants won’t go into flower or produce fruit if they don’t have enough resources, i.e., energy from photosynthesis. It can even cause one to go dormant in extreme cases. If possible, trim branches or other foliage blocking direct sunlight from finding your Bird of Paradise.
Inadequate Growing Conditions
Unlike many plants, the White Bird of Paradise prefers being pot-bound in well-draining soils. You should also ensure it gets adequate water. After all, it is a subtropical species. While it’s humidity-tolerant, let the soil dry out a bit before watering it to avoid mold and fungus development.
We also suggest that you avoid stressing it. Give it some fertilizer to see if that spurs flowering. Stick with a product that has more phosphorus than nitrogen. The former supports blooming, whereas the latter concentrates on foliage growth. Flowering normally occurs during the summer into early fall, depending on the growing conditions.
The White Bird of Paradise is an excellent choice for a focal point in your landscaping or in a large container in a well-lit room. It will thrive in the right conditions. It may need more direct sunlight or a nutrient burst to encourage flowering if it isn't blooming.