How to overwinter bird of paradise plants

If you are lucky enough to be growing bird of paradise plants outside in your northern European garden then you would be right to have at least some concerns with regards to protecting it from the winter cold. Native to South Africa it should really be grown under protection in areas where temperatures fall below 6 degrees Celsius. In fact bird of paradise plants are best suited planted in a greenhouse border, however it will of course benefit enormously from being outside in the heat and sun of the summer months. Bird of paradise plants are tough enough to tolerate freezing temperatures and there is even anecdotal evidence of them surviving temperatures as low as -7 degrees Celsius, but this is only for a few hours and they are certainly not capable of surviving outside in areas which receive a sustained period of cold weather for several months.

How to overwinter bird of paradise plants
In only the mildest areas of the south of England can you possibly consider keeping bird of paradise plants permanently in the ground, and even then only if it is planted in a very free-draining soil. To ensure good drainage plant your bird of paradise on a soil mound or in a raised bed. It will not be able to cope with frost damage so make sure that it is protected from strong winds and has the shelter of a warm house wall.

Keep it packed in straw during periods of extreme cold and leave it there until the last frosts have passed. You must also keep the roots on the dry side as the bird of paradise will not tolerate with both the cold and the wet. Take precautions against slug damage when the plant is cold protected, and if in doubt always bring your bird of paradise inside.

Pot grown plants can be brought in under the protection of a warm, bright room or heated greenhouse and will require a minimum winter temperature of 10 degrees Celsius to keep it both in optimum condition and to have any chance of it flowering the following year. Birds of paradise can be watered freely over the summer but gradually decrease the amount of water given from September onwards. Over the winter period always allow the compost to dry off before watering again and then only give it enough to keep it moist. Never let the roots become waterlogged.

For related articles click onto the following links:
How to Overwinter Bird of Paradise
How to Overwinter Tree Peonies

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