The majestic fan-like foliage and crane headed blooms make bird of paradise a stand out plant. Is bird of paradise cold hardy? Most varieties are suitable for USDA zones 10 to 12 and sometimes zone 9 with protection. It is important to situate the plant in a suitable local at planting for best bird of paradise winter care.
Bird of paradise freeze damage can be as mild as winter burnt leaves to stem and trunk freezes, which are more serious. A few tips will help you protect bird of paradise from freezing and can help you learn how to heal bird of paradise plant freeze damage. Read on to learn more.
Is Bird of Paradise Cold Hardy?
Bird of paradise is hardy to 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 C). As a native of South Africa and closely related to bananas, this tropical wonder is prone to freeze damage even in the warm zones where it is routinely planted.
These tropical plants can withstand some cold, but freezes can damage the thin broad leaves. The root zone can also be hurt by deep cold temperatures. A thick 2- to 3-inch (5 to 7.5 cm.) bed of organic mulch around the root zone can help protect bird of paradise from freezing at the root zone. Leave a couple of inches around the trunk free of mulch to prevent rotting.
At planting, dig in plenty of organic matter or a rich compost at least 6 inches (15 cm.) deep to help juice up the soil and regulate heat. It also has the added benefit of increasing soil porosity for superior drainage.
Bird of Paradise Plant Freeze Damage
The first symptoms will be seen in the leaves. The ends become tattered and brownish yellow. Eventually, these will die back and can be removed from the plant. 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. Lightly damaged plants should be pruned to where the stem comes out of the main trunk. Take care not to cut into the trunk when removing damaged leaves. In a few seasons, with good maintenance, the plant should begin to unfurl new leaves and be on the road to recovery.
How to Protect Bird of Paradise from Freezing
The best way to enjoy these plants is to think before you plant. Things to consider are soil texture, exposure, and your growing season and freeze points.
Bird of paradise plant freeze injury can be prevented in many cases by choosing a site that is not exposed and has an element of protection. This means planting on an exposed hillside or in a micro-climate on your property that has no shelter that will open the plant to damage if freezing occurs.
Mulching is an important part of bird of paradise winter care, but so is the location in which it is planted. Choose a sunny, but sheltered, location where other plants form a protective barrier or near enough to a structure that residual heat and the walls create a brace against incoming cold. This will help prevent winter problems in all but the coldest deepest freeze.