can bird of paradise survive a freeze

When I first moved to southern California from Montana to attend university, I was amazed by the diverse array of stunning plants: the pink sprays of bougainvillea, the purple flush of jacaranda trees, the orange-tufted, sharp-beaked birds of paradise.

It’s uncanny how much this flower resembles a tropical bird, isn’t it? Also known as crane flower, bird of paradise (Strelitzia spp.) belongs to the Strelitziaceae family, of which Madagascar’s theatrical traveler’s palm (Ravenala madagascariensis) is also a part.

This family loves drama, and it’s fantastic if you’re looking for stunning ornamentals to add to the garden.

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Bird of paradise is an evergreen tropical plant native to South Africa, but it’s grown in warm locales around the world. There are five species in this genus, and all may be referred to by the same common name.

All members thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-12, and sometimes Zone 9 – with ample protection.

If you’re lucky enough to be growing one of these beauties in your yard or garden, you might be wondering how to best care for it during the winter.

These plants can suffer if temperatures dip below freezing in the winter. Read on to find out how to overwinter your bird of paradise if you live in Zone 9, or are daring to grow the gorgeous birdlike blooms in Zone 8.

And if you’re looking for basic tips to get started, you can begin with our growing guide.

Is Bird of Paradise Cold Hardy?

The hardiness of bird of paradise is up to 24 °F (-4 °C). This tropical wonder, native to South Africa and closely related to bananas, is vulnerable to freeze damage, even in warm climates where it is commonly planted. While freezes can harm the thin, broad leaves of these tropical plants, they can tolerate some cold. Cold temperatures can also be detrimental to the root zone. A thick 2- to 3-inch (5 to 7. 5 cm. ) bed of organic mulch surrounding the root zone can aid in preventing the root zone of the bird of paradise from freezing. To stop it from rotting, leave a few inches of space around the trunk clear of mulch. When planting, incorporate a minimum of 6 inches (15 cm) of rich compost or an abundance of organic matter. deep to aid in hydrating the soil and controlling temperature It additionally provides the advantage of improving soil porosity for better drainage.

What Happens to Bird of Paradise Plants in Cold Weather?

The very lowest temperature that Strelitzia plants can handle is 24°F for just a short amount of time, according to Sydney Park Brown and Robert J. Black of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension.

However, that doesn’t mean they won’t suffer a penalty for enduring such a sharp drop in temperature. Any temperature below 32°F can injure flowers and developing buds.

Here are some tips for keeping your plant warm throughout the winter.

Transplanting to a Container

Have you already planted your bird of paradise only to learn that it will probably not fare well in the winter months?

You can still transplant it to a container. Simply add two parts potting soil and one part perlite to a large pot that is at least 12 inches wide and deep, or larger, depending on the size of the plant.

Start by soaking the root system for ten to fifteen minutes with a running hose. After you’re done watering it, give it a good twenty minutes so the water can soften the roots. Then, mark a 10-inch radius around the plant.

Dig down approximately eighteen inches using a trenching shovel, adhering to that radial line. A friend will most likely be needed to help you lift the large, heavy plant—along with its root ball!

These plants are hardy, so don’t worry too much if you occasionally break off pieces of root. A little too tough, perhaps….

Plant it in the pot and spread its roots widely. Completely backfill with soil and water, allowing the liquid to drain out of the bottom.

You can now bring your plant inside to protect it from the cold during these periods!


Will a bird of paradise come back after a freeze?

Very serious signs of bird of paradise freeze damage will show brown to black stems, overall limpness in the stems and leaves, and soft spots in the trunk. This is a symptom of nearly fatal injury. The only thing to do for such compromised plants is to give them good care and wait to see if they recover.

What temp is too cold for bird of paradise?

Optimal Temperature Range for Growth and Flowering They’re tropical show-offs; give them warmth and they’ll give you blooms. But let the mercury dip below 50°F (10°C), and you’re in the danger zone – the plants can sulk, leaves may suffer, and flowers might just give up the ghost. Frost is a no-go.

How do you keep birds of paradise alive in the winter?

Birds of paradise do best with a regular watering schedule. Keep the soil moist in spring and summer, during the growing season, but allow the soil to dry between waterings in the dormant fall and winter months. Water that has a high salt content could burn the leaves.

Can bird of paradise be left outside?

Related to banana plant, bird of paradise is most commonly grown outdoors in frost-free regions, but can also be grown as an indoor houseplant and brought outside during warmer months. Bird of paradise is unlikely to bloom if it’s kept indoors year-round, but the bold foliage is attractive on its own.