Bird of Paradise Temperature Range – Tolerance Guide

The Bird of paradise, being native to South Africa, thrives in warm climates. It is not very tolerant of the cold.

In serious cases, leaves begin to look disheveled. They then begin to darken, until they finally turn black. They then fall off.

This is followed by an overall limp plant with soft spots on the trunk of the plant. The end result is usually the plant dying.

What temperatures can the Bird of paradise tolerate?

The Bird of paradise does not like temperatures below 50°F. To keep them happy, they prefer temperatures between 10 and 25°C (50 and 77°F). To get your plant to bloom, one should try to keep it within this temperature range, with warmer being ideal.

The Bird of paradise is not frost resistant. Developing buds and flowers will be damaged anytime the temperatures go below 24°F, even for a short amount of time.

Additionally, roots can also be damaged by low temperatures.

Mature Strelitzias are very heat tolerant, surviving in climates that reach up to 38 °C (100°F).

Identifying frost damage on your Bird of paradise

Frost damage on your Bird of paradise will appear as brown tips on the leaves. This will not occur gradually, but rather overnight.

In cases of severe frost damage, the plant’s leaves and stems may begin to turn black. The stems bend and sometimes break, unable to support any weight.

This is likely to occur if exposed to frost over multiple days and nights, but may also happen in very cold temperatures.

Treating frost damage

If you notice your plant has frost damage, you should take action immediately.

Move your plant to a different, warmer location. Allow it to thaw out so that you can see if there is any visible damage to the plant or its root system.

Trim off any damaged parts of the plant. You’ll want to do this to save the healthy parts of the plant and to stop the damage from spreading. You should also snip off any damaged buds.

Inspect the roots. Any damaged or dead roots should be gently removed. If more than 1/3 of the plant’s roots are damaged, then the damage is considered severe and your plant may have a tough time bouncing back.

When you are ready to repot your plant, applying a balanced liquid fertilizer can help give it a boost. You can apply this to the soil.

When should I bring my Bird of paradise inside?

Bring your plants inside when the temperature is just above freezing. Leaving it outside any longer risks damage to the plant.As previously mentioned, the Bird of paradise has little tolerance for the cold.

To help your plants’ roots, you can add a thick layer of mulch around them. Be sure to leave some space without mulch around the trunk to prevent root rot from occurring.

At the planting stage, add, at a minimum, 15 cm of compost. This will help to regulate heat.

Will a Bird of paradise recover after a freeze?

Your plant may be able to recover from frost damage if you catch it early, but it will take some time for your plant to recover. You will need to be patient for your Bird of paradise to start producing new leaves and buds, as it will focus all of its energy on healing. Limp and discolored leaves should be pruned away.

If your plant’s root system has frozen, it’s unlikely that your plant will be able to survive. Once thawed, inspect the roots. Soft, mushy roots that release a clear, watery liquid are a sign that your plant is likely too far gone.

Long term effects resulting from frostbite 

Stunted growth

A Bird of paradise that has been continuously frostbitten will produce small new leaves. These leaves will typically appear around the plants’ perimeter.

It may take several seasons for your plant to put out large, glossy leaves again.

Reduced flowering

Strelitzia is notorious for being tricky to get to flower. A frost-damaged one will be no different, as it will likely not bloom for some time while it works on recovery.

Root rot

Frost-damaged roots can be breeding grounds for fungi and bacteria. Once the soil thaws out, the dead roots will begin to rot.

Following a frost event, keep a close eye on your plant. Only water it as needed to avoid the risk of root rot.