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How To Care For Bird of Paradise In Winter?

If you have grown tropical plants before, you know that these plants don’t like winters. Birds of paradise are tropical plants that go dormant in winter and need proper care to survive.

To keep your bird of paradise plant healthy during winter, keep a check on these:

  • Keep your bird of paradise plant away from frost or cold drafts.
  • Provide direct sunlight whenever possible and use artificial light if it is not getting any light.
  • Water the plant only when the topsoil becomes dry.
  • Reduce fertilization after the fall season.
  • Use a humidifier to maintain humidity around the plant.

In this article, I will explain how to care for a bird of paradise plant in the winter season. So, keep reading.

bird of paradise pot

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.

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Understanding the winter care needs of birds of paradise

Before we understand how to care for a bird of paradise during winter, let’s understand its growth.

The growth pattern of the bird of paradise

The bird of paradise plant is known for their long, concave leaves and spiky orange and blue flowers.

The plant belongs to the Strelitziaceae family and is native to South Africa.

The climate of their natural habitat is warm and humid, which makes them tropical plants. 

This plant is a perennial, which means it will grow year after year, so it will take time to reach its full size.

It can take 3 to 5 years to mature before they begin flowering.

They will grow best in USDA hardiness zones 10-12 and sometimes in 9 with special care.

Winter habitat

During the winter season, the plant goes into dormancy.

Since they are tropical plants, they don’t like winter’s low light, temperature, and humidity.  

The plant will have stunted growth and will stop producing flowers because of unfavorable growing conditions during winter. 

They try to save their energy during winter to use it for their growth after the dormant season ends.

Hence, they will not need watering and fertilizers in the same manner as you did in other seasons.

The type of soil and environmental conditions preferred by Birds of Paradise in winter

Let’s understand the basic requirements of a bird of paradise and its role during winter.

  • Soil: The bird of paradise will thrive well in rich, well-drained, slightly acidic, loamy soil. You should water the soil when it is almost dry, but never let it dry completely. Mulching the soil is a good idea to protect the soil from low temperatures during winter.
  • SunlightThe bird of paradise plants prefers to grow in bright indirect light, including some direct light. During winter, provide the plant with direct or indirect bright sunlight as long as possible. Use artificial light if it doesn’t get enough light.
  • Temperature: The bird paradise plant comes from tropical regions with temperatures between 65-80°F. Since they are habituated to warm conditions, they get stressed when the temperature drops. They are frost-tender plants and will suffer from freeze damage if temperatures fall below 24°F.
  • HumidityThe bird of paradise plants, like tropical plants, grows in a humid environment. They will need a minimum of 50-60% humidity for growth and survival. Since the humidity levels drop during winter, you can use a humidifier to provide the required humidity.

Protecting bird of paradise from cold temperatures

bird of paradise new leaf

You must provide the correct care to keep your bird of paradise plant alive during winter.

Here is a breakdown of what you need to do.

1. Reduce watering your bird of paradise plant.

Watering FrequencyDescription
Once a weekWater the plant once a week, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
Reduce wateringReduce watering if the plant is in a cooler area or if the soil takes longer to dry out.
Check soil moistureCheck the soil moisture level by sticking your finger 2 inches into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.

The watering requirements for a bird of paradise plant will change during winter.

The plant will need less watering as the soil remains wet for longer due to slower evaporation. 

Many of us overwater our plants during winter.

I once overwatered my plant, and this mistake became the cause of my plant’s death.

 So, avoid overwatering if you don’t want the same.

Check the soil with your index finger before watering.

Water the plant only when the top layer of the soil becomes dry. 

You can also use a moisture meter to check the soil moisture level.  

Allow the soil to dry out between watering to prevent overwatering issues.

2. Provide your bird of paradise plant with sufficient lightening

Light is a necessary factor for the psychological processes in plants.

It is common for the bird of paradise plant to face low light problems during the winter season.

  • To prevent low light problems, move your plant to a place with a few hours of direct sunlight.
  • You can keep your plant to an east, west, or south-facing window, providing plenty of bright light throughout the day.
  • Avoid keeping your bird of paradise plant near frosty windows, leaky windowsills, and open doors, as it can stress it. 
  • Clean the leaves daily, as dust can clog the stomata pores.
  • Rotate your plant every 2-3 days so that all sides will get equal light. 
  • If you think your plant isn’t receiving sufficient light, use artificial or grow lights. Grow lights are extremely useful. I use it for my plants during the winter. 

3. Try to maintain ideal room temperatures around your bird of paradise plant

bird of paradise soil

The bird of paradise plant will enjoy temperatures between 60-85°F.

To maintain steady temperatures around the plant, you will need to keep it in a place that is away from temperature fluctuations.

  • Start by mulching the soil with wood chips, dry leaves, straws, etc., as it keeps the soil warm. I also use sphagnum moss, coconut coir, and orchid bark to mulch my houseplants. You can try it too.
  • Keep your plant away from windows or doors with a cold breeze. If you keep the plant near a frozen window, the leaves will get rubbed against the glass panes, which will cause it cold injury.
  • Also, keep your plant away from cooling vents, air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters, gas burners, etc. Place the plant several feet away to keep your bird of paradise plant in the same room with the heating devices. 

4. Raise the humidity.

The humidity levels drop during winter, so the bird of paradise plant can suffer from problems like dehydration.

The bird of paradise will need a minimum of 50% humidity, which is naturally unavailable during winter. 

However, there are some ways you can follow to raise the humidity level around your bird of paradise plant.

  • Use a humidifier device: The humidifier device is the best way to maintain an accurate humidity level around your pants. You will need to fill the device with water, and it will release water vapor whenever air passes through it. The release of water vapor will add moisture to the plants. I use an Aquaoasis cool mist humidifier for my tropical plants, which works well.
  • Group your plant with other tropical plants: Grouping is an effective way to increase humidity for moisture-loving plants. All the plants will transpire at the same time and will add moisture to the surrounding.
  • Use pebble trays: You can keep your plant on a tray filled with water and stones. The water from the tray will evaporate, creating a cloud of humidity around your plant.
  • Mist your plant leaves: You can keep your plant humid by misting its leaves. Misting will also keep the leaves clean. Mist the leaves early in the morning so the leaves will not stay wet for long. Evening mist increases the chances of pest and disease attacks on the plant. 
  • Relocate your plant: keep your bird of paradise plant in the humid area of your house, like the kitchen or bathroom.

5. Reduce fertilization after the fall season.

NPK fertilizer
Use a balanced fertilizerUse a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Fertilize once a monthFertilize the plant once a month during the winter season.
Dilute the fertilizerDilute the fertilizer to half strength before applying to avoid burning the plant.

The bird of paradise plant goes into dormancy during winter, so it has no active growth.

Therefore, fertilizing the plant in the same amount can severely damage it. 

The salts from the fertilizers will burn the roots by dehydrating them. 

To prevent all such problems, fertilize your plant in little amounts during winter.

Feed the plant with an organic, balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 monthly during winter. 

Resume fertilizing the plant every two weeks when the spring season arrives. 

6. Determine the ideal place for your bird of paradise plants

Each area of your house might differ in light and humidity, so choosing the right place for your bird of paradise plant is important.

You can also keep your plant near a south-facing window during winter for better sunlight exposure.

Keep the plant 2 to 3 feet away from the window to prevent cold injury.

7. Check for pest infestations.  

Spider mitesYellowing leaves, webbing on leavesSpray the plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
MealybugsWhite, cottony spots on leaves and stemsWipe the plant with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Root rotWilting leaves, yellowing leaves, mushy stemsReduce watering and improve drainage.
Fungal leaf spotBrown spots on leaves, yellowing leavesRemove infected leaves and improve air circulation.

During winters, the bird of paradise plants is at a higher risk of pest attack because of unfavorable growing conditions.

However, you follow various ways to prevent and treat the pests of your plant. 

  • The best breeding grounds for pests are wet soil. So, never overwater the soil and allow it to dry completely between watering.
  • Wet leaves attract pests, so mist your plants early in the morning so the water from the leaves will quickly evaporate.
  • Spray neem oil solution over your plant’s leaves once a month to keep pests away. Other than neem oil, I often use peppermint and cinnamon oil spray on my plants as they are excellent pest repellents.
  • Never keep your plants in the dark, as pests like to live in such an atmosphere. Make sure to provide your plant with sufficient light and air.
  • Beware of spider mites, as they prefer the dry conditions of winter. Ensure enough humidity with a humidifier.

Winter pruning and maintenance for a bird of paradise

How To Prune Bird Of Paradise Plant | Bird of Paradise Care

A good question is whether you should prune your bird of paradise, especially during winter.

Let’s find out.

The appropriate time and methods for pruning bird of paradise in winter

Pruning is an important factor for the bird of paradise’s healthy growth. 

Pruning will make the plant look more beautiful by fixing structural problems and encouraging new growth. 

Pruning aims to remove dead, damaged, diseased foliage and flowers from the plant. 

The appropriate time for pruning and thinning a bird of paradise is during the growing season, i.e., spring and summer. 

The plant should not be pruned during winter as it remains dormant, and pruning can cause severe stress and shock.  

However, you can trim the bird of paradise plant at any point of the year to remove the dead or damaged parts that no longer serve the plant.

When trimming the plant during winter, you will need sharp and sterilized pruning equipment. 

Ensure not to trim any leaf with more than 50% of the part in good condition. 

Remove the dead flowers from the base of the plant.

The benefits and drawbacks of winter pruning

The pros and cons of winter pruning depend on how you are pruning your bird of paradise.

Winter pruning will improve the overall appearance of the plant.Winter pruning can cause the plant to experience sudden stress and shock.
Winter pruning will prevent the risk of pests and diseases which might spread from any infected leaves.The plant will take a longer time to recover if pruned during winter.
 Winter pruning will help the plant to conserve energy.Winter pruning will not stimulate any new growth.
This table demonstrates the pros and cons of pruning a bird of paradise plant during winter.

Final words 

The bird of paradise plant is a sturdy, beautiful plant that can thrive without much care. They are frost-tender plants, and harsh colds can be difficult for them. However, providing the plant with proper care will help it survive winters.

You will only need to change the care routine for your bird of paradise plant during winter. To keep your bird of paradise plant healthy during winters, provide a few hours of direct sunlight daily, reduce the water and fertilizers supply, and try to have suitable temperatures and humidity. 

Avoid exposing your bird of paradise plant to cold and hot drafts; otherwise, it will suffer irreversible damage. If you have an outdoor bird of paradise, you can either bring it indoors or cover it to protect it from frost and low temperatures.

Can I repot my bird of paradise plant during winter?

I don’t recommend you repot your bird of paradise plant during winter as it can stress the plant. The best time for repotting the plant is during the spring season.

How to protect my outdoor bird of paradise plants during winter?

You can protect your outdoor bird of paradise plant by covering it with a frost cloth or burlap. Wrap the foliage and flower buds off your plant with a frost cloth and secure it to the ground with stones or brick. Keep the frost cloth loose.

Reference: Wikipedia

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