Bird of Paradise Zone 8?

joefalco(z8 MB SC)September 5, 2006

Someone told me there is a bird of Paradise called black and White that can grow 20 feet tall and survive my zone, Is this true and if so why have I never seen such a plant growing around here?

Is this is false can someone recommend a real stand out or a few large tropical looking plants for full sun in South Carolina?

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bihai(zone 9)

They are probably talking about the usual White Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia nicolai. It CAN get 20 ft tall, but it probably won't in zone 8. Mine stay about 8-9 ft. They get huge in South Florida and bloom a lot there. Mine have never bloomed here in over 12 years. They will survive a hard freeze very well, just lose some leaves.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 2:06PM
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Strelitzia alba is the white bird of paradise; Strelitzia nicolai is the giant black bird of paradise. The nicolai is the tallest. It is pushing the zone, but they can be moved around &/or inside. The giant varieties do not do well inside for long periods of time.
Another possibility is canna musafolia.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 11:02PM
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bihai(zone 9)

That's funny baci, all the White Birds sold here are S. nicolai. They are so common no one even buys them much anymore except for interiorscape. They are a backbone landscaping plant at all the theme parks in Orlando where they do bloom nicely. You are right, they will be okay inside for a bit but eventually falter indoors unless placed in an extremely sunny location, like under a skylight in front of a back of 20 ft windows where they get supreme lighting.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 1:18PM
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joefalco(z8 MB SC)

Thanks for the replies, I think it might just be a little cold here after reading your comments. I am going to look for an alternative.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 4:29PM
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I have 3 giant bird of paradise and am in zone 8b (20 degrees cold) in the No. California foothills. They have survived two winters (last year we had 4" of snow that lasted 3-4 days. I mulched the base of the plant with Canna stalks (like a teepee) I cut down each winter. Several of the leaves have damage, but come out of it very well each spring/summer.

As far as other tropicals that work in zone 8. Here are several that I have had for several years and all do well in the winter and full sun (105+ degrees) in the summer.

Musa basjoo (hardy banana tree)
Musa Abysinnian (stunning banana tree)
Musella lariscara (chinese banana bush)
Queen palm
Canna (comes in a variety of colored foliage and heights)

For the bananas, the folliage dies off each winter from the frost, but the trunk remains. Each spring they come back vigorously and grow 5-7 feet each year (except for the dwarf bananas). I also teepee my canna stalks around the base. I was told in zone 8, I didn't need to, but better safe than sorry.

The Canna die off each year and return strong the next spring. The Queen Palms do fine with no attention in the winter.

I have many photos of my yard that I can send you. If you are interested, feel free to email me and I will send you some.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 1:51AM
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Blood Meal applied at the root of the plant will produce lots of blooms.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:13AM
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DISSmith(z8b SC)

kyle; I too am attempting to grow BOP (alba) , Queen Palms, and Musa basjoo in 8b and your post gives me hope about over wintering them. How big was the Queen before it spent a winter outdoors? I'd love to see some photos if you get the chance!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 8:47PM
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I live in Houston, and we have Queen palms everywhere outdoors. We also have a lot of Mexican fun and Canary Date palms and Sagos. I planted my Queen Palms 2 years ago, I got them from HD , they were about 3-4 feet at the time. I think Houston is also in 8b. Birds of paradize (the color ones) are sold as annuals, I never saw them growing outdoors here.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 2:41PM
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I live in California zone 8 and grow the organge bird of paradise. I *almost* bought the white one, but I've read that it is only hardy to zone 10.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 6:38PM
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Shannon01(z9 CA)

I am down in Sacramento and we planted the small regular BOP this past year and one actually bloomed! They seem to be fine right now.

Our sago palms seem to be doing fine also. We planted banana trees and they were only about 3ft tall when fall came last year. We were told to cut stalk down. I removed the dead leaves and left the stalk at about 18". One rotted to where there was nothing but the stinky hole in the ground and some mucky stalk. HD exchanged it no problem because they told me it would survive. The second one that was planted in the corner did not seem like it would make it but I left it alone. To my amazement it not only grew back, but three actually grew from the original. They are well over the top of the fence. The cold weather has killed all the leaves of course. I think this year I will leave it alone and see what happens. I will only remove the dead leaves as they begin to rot.

Kyle, when you said they grow back, but you leave the stalk, does that mean that new leaves grow from the stalk and it CONTINUES to grow taller? Or new shoots grow from the base only. I was hoping to have a tall plant in the spring as it is a backdrop to my pool waterfall.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 8:57AM
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You won't get any new growth from the dead portion of the older leaves anyway, but you can cut down to where there's still green, and they do emerge from the older leaves near the bases of the plants and not high up the older leaves anyway. Unfortunately I do think you won't get many leaves as tall as the ones you've lost for a couple of seasons most likely as the plant regrows? I managed to snap one plant off entirely from a group of three in a container, almost to the roots, and of course the regrowing plant is still very small. The lower the damage, the longer it will take to regrow most likely, but then again, I don't have the most ideal growing conditions for mine since they're indoors most of the year!!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 8:48AM
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tamivileine(z8b OS,MS, US)

Houston is Zone 9 depending on where you live. You MIGHT be a warm 8b on the north side of town, but certainly as you go into and south of town you're definitely a z9. Between the latitude and the city microclimate effects, it's surprisingly frost-free on the whole.

I used to live in Kemah, and I grew things I can't get away with here in OS. -sniff-

You can get away with the S.regina (orange) in Houston, I should think. If it looks to frost, just cover it. I've seen them growing in town here in the Biloxi area, so you should have no problem. Wait... come to think... I recall quite a few orange BOP in my neighborhood in Kemah - yeah, you can do it!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 11:30AM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

I have a strelitzia nicolai, purchased 2 yrs. ago at a garden center (maybe HD, I don't remember). It goes outside in the summer & I move it in around Oct. It's about 6' tall, still in the same small nursery pot- lives in an unheated sunroom, on the n. side. I have orchids out there, too, & they get occasional care-fairly regular watering, not enough humidity, occasional foliar feeding w/ seaweed fert. & messenger.

If I thought it could make it outside, I'd leave it there-I have a bunch of fig trees, a musa basjoo, & other marginal plants that are toughing it out, but I don't know if I'm ready to throw the BOP outside yet...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 4:16PM
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Ok my BOP looks a little less than OK after this winter! The leaves are dicolored around all the edges. Anythin I can do?


    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 12:31AM
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Hi I have 2 Giant Birds of Paradise in my Back yard and have brown freeze damage to the Leaves, but Stalks are Green. How do I prune? Do I cut the Leaves off at the top of the Stalk? or? (Leaves are dried,brown and damaged.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 2:51PM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

Mine are also a little battered looking after this winter-I can't wait to move them outside. They did manage to overwinter in an unheated sunporch, zone 7, minimal watering...

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 9:06PM
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Even established plantings of the hardy S.nicolei bit the dust this year(or were frozen to ground level and haven't come back yet). I thought it was a good zone 9 plant, but this year I was proven wrong. For some reason the avocado trees in the same area look like they will make it, but the birds look dead.
(as seen from the Nor Cal coastal river bottoms, 70 miles south of Eureka)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 12:27PM
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i havent seen the black and white b.o.p just the orangish/redish. the blooms of those are really pretty but when they die, i think it looks trashy. i suggest an oleander just because i have 6 of them and they survived our frost in ga. but thats just me i dont know how you feel about oleanders

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 12:31PM
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Lc4273, what other types of plants do you grow?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:35AM
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paxetamor(7b Abilene TX)

I am interested in container growing orange bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) or repotting in the fall when cooler weather hits. Seems like I read they dont tollerate below 40.F (?) I might be mistaken, old guy memory here... I found a shop that has some for 7 or 8 dollars each at about 18" tall. Am hoping for a trade though, or certainly a better price. Am I being too difficult in my planting desires or expendature limitations? I am also interested in cold hardy windmill palm, musa texas star and california gold banana. Currently have trading stock of iris, violets to cedar elm seedlings, pecan seedlings, cannas, yarrow and I am sure I can find something else if I rummage... Happy Saturday! Mick -- Abilene, TX What are the black BoP like? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 7:52AM
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Strelitzia reginae can tolerate temps close to freezing as long as it is fairly dry, but at such low temps they will not grow. They like being root-bound so your best bet is to grow in a container and move it in/out.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 1:19PM
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I have of pot of the orange/purple bird of paradise plants which I have grown from seeds 17 years ago. The pot is very crowded with stalks of about 3' high. My problem is that I can't seem to get any blooms. I do take the plant in over the winter. The plant gets regular watering and some morning sun and lots of afternoon sun. On occasion I water it with Miracle Gro. My climate is very humid. What can I do to get these plants to bloom? Would I be better off planting them in the ground? I did so with some that I propagated (at my old house) and have noticed on the occasion that I have driven by the old place, that the ones I planted in the ground ARE BLOOMING. Help!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 10:53AM
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they like being root-bound, but maybe yours are too crowded and need some fresh new soil

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 7:29PM
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I bought 3 large Giant BOP nicolai from Lowes. They said they would grow in zone 8. This is a bummer since they were not cheap. How do I winterize them. They are in large clay pots now.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 3:36PM
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giantsaguaro(Verona - North Italy 8B)


I am growing several Orange BOP , one Giant BOP and One Ravenala Madagascariensis. I overwitered them inside, but I actually want to give them a try outside in a sheltered position near the southfacing wall of the house.
I am growing Alocasia Odora (Elephant Ear) there and even if they lost the leaves they've been outside for three winters now and do fine. I introduced bananas last year and they froze to the ground, but they are actually far away from the house, even if it is the south side.
Calculating the hardiness zone, with the absolute minimum temps of the past five years, the result is -6.4 °C. Which sould make it a zone 9. Still, global warming tricks could spoil a little bit the results, so I keep it safer consindering it a stretched zone 8.
So, what about Ravenala? Anyone can suggest if it's best to keep it in a pot or try the ground not far from the GBOP?


    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 11:09AM
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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

I grow both the white and orange Bird of Paradise. The Orange seems a bit more tolerant of frost than the White. I have a white BOP planted out in the open and it was completely fried after a couple of low 30 nights. repeated frosty nights will do them in quickly. I have others in no-so-exposed areas that do perfectly fine. Last winter we had a freeze with temps in the low 20s for about a week and all of the BOP around town were toast -including the orange. They came back, but are SLOW growers. If you regularly get into the 20s and are at risk of getting into the teens during a hard freeze, BOP would not be long term plants. They would not be fully recovered in one season when hit with another freeze. just my experience with them.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 1:08PM
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I have a White BOP indoors I got from lowes last fall. I grow it indoors under a 200W White Compact Fluorescent, and soon to be adding an extra 125W White Compact Fluorescent totaling 10,000 Lumens. I am thinking about moving it outside but from what I've read here it wouldn't survive the cold, in Northwest Arkansas (zone 7). It regularly gets below 30 in the winter here. And it's too stinking heavy to move indoors and outdoors all the time! My plan is to keep it indoors (my tallest ceiling is 10ft) and cut any leaves that get too tall...sad. I love this plant.
My current problem is that the most recent leaves have not uncurled from growing. So I'm very confused...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 6:25AM
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