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Strelitzia reginae, Bird of Paradise, Crane Flower, Stelitzia
Strelitzia reginae 'Pine Leaf'

Strelitzia reginae

Bird of Paradise, Crane Flower, Stelitzia
Family: Strelitziaceae
Origin: South Africa
Small shrub 2-5 ftFull sunSemi-shadeModerate waterWhite/off-white flowersBlue/lavender/purple flowersYellow/orange flowersSubtropical, cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

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 1,5 m 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. The structure and pollination of the flowers are rather interesting. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges, is called the spathe. This is placed at right angles to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird's head. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of 3 brilliant orange sepals and 3 bright blue petals. Two of the blue petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary. When the birds sit to have a drink of nectar, the petals open to cover their feet in pollen. It 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. This must be one of the most well-known plants in the world. The fascinating blooms are sold as cut flowers by the million. :Read more about this plant.

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Streptocarpus sp., Strep
Streptocarpus wendlandii

Streptocarpus sp.

Family: Gesneriaceae
Origin: Southern Africa, Madagascar
Small shrub 2-5 ftSemi-shadeRegular waterModerate waterPink flowersWhite/off-white flowersBlue/lavender/purple flowersRed/crimson/vinous flowersYellow/orange flowers

Streptocarpus have shallow root systems and are best grown in wide shallow pots using a well-drained soil-less compost.

Keep in good light but not exposed to hot sun which can cause leaf scorch. An east or west-facing windowsill is best in summer; in winter move to a south-facing position.

To increase humidity in drier surroundings stand the pots on saucers of pebbles kept moist, but do not allow the water to reach the base of the pot.

Overwatering and/or too dense a soil mix. This is really the only way one can kill most modern streptocarpus hybrids. Streps almost always will recover from lack of water, even when almost totally limp, but can be killed by continual overwatering. For this same reason, a lighter soil mix is always preferred over a heavy one.

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Streptosolen jamesonii, Marmalade Bush, Orange Browallia, Firebush

Streptosolen jamesonii

Marmalade Bush, Orange Browallia, Firebush
Family: Solanaceae
Origin: Andean Columbia and Ecuador
Groundcover and low-growing 2ftVine or creeperFull sunSemi-shadeRegular waterRed/crimson/vinous flowersYellow/orange flowersAttracts butterflies, hummingbirds

A spectacular bloomer, it is a rambling perennial vine that without support will grow 4-6 feet tall and wide. It is great for containers, hanging baskets, or as a ground cover in Southern landscapes. Oval-shaped evergreen leaves with a wrinkled appearance clothe the sprawling branches. A bountiful of orange, bell-shaped flowers bloom at the terminal ends of the branches in the spring and summer. Best in sun or part shade with regular watering. The shrub is evergreen and striking in any position, especially spilling over walls and lining garden stairs. It is somewhat frost tender though, and needs a protected position, or cut back before cold weather.

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Stromanthe sp., Never-Never Plant

Stromanthe sp.

Never-Never Plant
Family: Marantaceae
Origin: Brazil, Honduras and Costa Rica
Small shrub 2-5 ftSemi-shadeModerate waterOrnamental foliageRed/crimson/vinous flowersYellow/orange flowersSubtropical, cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

Stromanthe genus contains two species grown indoors. S. amabilis and S. sanguinea.

S. amabilis has compact leaves which are 15-25cm long and 5cm wide. S. sanguinea has larger glossy leaves which are up to 30 to 50cm long and around 10cm wide. Both have a creeping rhizome (a thicken stem which grows hoizontally below or on the soil surface) and produce fanlike sprays of leaves. Water moderately, mist often as needs humidity. Enjoys a medium light.

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Stromanthe stromanthoides, Stromanthe

Stromanthe stromanthoides

Family: Marantaceae
Small shrub 2-5 ftSemi-shadeRegular waterModerate waterYellow/orange flowers

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