Strelitzia Reginae In Trouble

Eric01521June 3, 2012

I have a Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia Reginae, that is not doing well and seems to be so root bound that it is growing SHORTER than it was 2 years ago.

I am posting some photos on Photobucket that show the plant in trouble, as well as various states of health and size. The link to a collection of much larger versions of these photos is right below.

The original "single" plant was divided (in 2005) into 2 and one was given away. The other that I kept bloomed the next year (2006). It has bloomed several times after that, producing about 10 flowers in total. It has not bloomed for at least 24 to 36 months.

From May to September it stays on my deck (in Massachusetts) and the other months are spent in my cellar under an 800 watt grow light with sodium and halide bulbs. It is great seeing the flowers bloom while snow is falling on the other side of the cellar window.

The plant has grown a little sideways (probably because of the roots). There were 1 or 2 recent periods lasting several weeks when it did not get a lot of light because of a recent move.

I have heard that these plants like to be root bound but I am starting to wonder if it is too root bound right now. It is in a 13.5" diameter container.

I have 2 terra cotta pots available for transplanting: a 15" and a larger pot (see photo) that is shaped like an upside triangle. The measurement for the interior bottom is 13" in diameter while the interior top diameter measures 21." The two measurements combined average to an overall diameter of 17."

I really do not want to use the 15" pot because I think it the roots will fill it too quickly. It would be only 1.5" larger than the current pot.

As for the "before and after" photos, the plant that was given away was placed near a big window and got filtered light. The owner admitted that it was neglected by getting sporadic water only when he remembered to do it. It is much taller than mine, the leaves are darker, and it blooms frequently. He was moving away and I offered to take it off his hands. Now the original 2 plants are back together side by side; one shockingly tall, the other short.

If anyone has any suggestions about transplanting or other tips, I would be most appreciative.


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I had one in the ground several years ago and I decided to remove it because it was growing too good. It was quite a task because it had an extensive root system that went straight down quite far....possibly nearing China....

Thus from my experience I think it needs a larger pot, as big as you can go....

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 12:01AM
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