The Q&A Archives: Bird of Paradise

Question: My Giant Bird of Paradise froze this winter. What can I do to bring it back? Do I cut it back? If so
when? We have it in a large barrel, is that ok?

Answer: Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) is a tropical plant that can be damaged when exposed to temperatures below 29F degrees. When frozen back, it may recover slowly, or it may not recover at all. Your plant got a double dose of trouble because it's planted in a barrel, which would have exposed the roots as well as the tops to the frigid weather. You can cut back the damaged foliage now and remove it from the garden. Place 3-4 inches of organic material over the top of the plant to help protect it for the rest of the winter. If it sends out new shoots in the spring, the roots are still alive and the plant should fully recover in two years. If it doesn't produce new foliage in the spring, the plant is probably dead and should be dug and replaced.

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