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Bird of Paradise: Growing the Giant Bird of Paradise in frost (Strelitzia nicolai)

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The beautiful Giant Bird of Paradise or White Bird of Paradise is one of the lushest tropical foliage plants available in plant nurseries. It is usually believed that the Giant Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicolai) cannot be grown in areas which experience frost, but it would actually make a wonderful foliage plant for your cool climate tropical garden. It can be hard to have a tropical garden down south in cool climates, but the Giant Bird of Paradise would be a great start!

Strelitzia Nicolai originates in South Africa and is a tough, evergreen plant which forms a dense clump up to 4m wide. The Giant Bird of Paradise grows to approximately 12m tall. The Giant Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicolai) bears beautiful white flowers which resemble the heads of paradise birds.

To successfully grow the Giant Bird of Paradise in cool climates or gardens prone to frost, it is necessary to keep it protected from strong winds. A good way of protecting the plant from the wind is to plant a row of very hardy plants next to it to act as a hedge / windbreaker. Wind can cause shredded, dried out foliage and can be the end of your beautiful Bird of Paradise. Strelitzia nicolai tanetahi

It is also very important to mulch well around the plant. Mulch will protect the roots from getting too cold over winter, and will act as  insulation against cool temperatures. As an added benefit it will also keep roots cool in summer which helps them take up water. Keep mulch away from the trunk a little bit to stop rot.

Make sure your Bird of Paradise plant is in optimum condition before you go into winter. Fertilise it well in spring and autumn, or as often as required, with a good quality slow release fertilizer  or equivalent organic fertilizer  Water it well for best growth, and hose off the foliage regularly to keep it free of dust.

If your Bird of Paradise does get damaged by frost, you can trim the dead parts of the tree back with a sharp knife or other cutting tool. Make sure you sterilise the tool first before you use it to stop the spread of infections from the tool to the tree. If the tree has been damaged by frost, you may see signs such as brown tops or brown foliage, mushy stems or mushy stem tops.

Birds of Paradise are very tough plants and there is a good chance, if your frost wasn’t severe, that it will grow back. Roots and the bottom of the stem can survive, and come back when the weather warms up again. The regrowth may take some time to come back, so don’t give up on your White Bird of Paradise – give it a chance to show you how resilient it truly is.

Lush Plants plant nursery has the Giant Bird of Paradise for sale. Buy Giant Bird of Paradises here

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