Giant Bird of Paradise in Zone 9?

spatacular(Sacto CA)March 20, 2006

My first step into creating a tropical backyard. I couldn't resist picking up two Giant Birds of Paradise today at Costco. They were very large and healthy, also at a reasonable price ($55). The GBPs were being scooped up right in front of me so I didn't have time to research before I impulse bought...... will they make it in Zone 9? Anyone in Zone 9 have any advice on keeping them healthy and happy? I plan on keeping them in large pots.

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bihai(zone 9)

Yes you will have no problem. You can even plant them in the ground is you don't too many freezes. I have had them in pots in zone 8B forever and they are easy to grow. I forgot once and left a pot out in a 22 degree freeze, and a few leaves froze but the plant rebounded very quickly and grew back. SOmeone in town even has one in the ground in a very protected spot. They grow well and bloom all the time in Central FL (zone 9) Tamps and Orlando areas...they get 15+ ft tall.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2006 at 6:23AM
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northtexasgirl(z8 FTW)

I bought one two years ago and it grew like crazy here in Zone 8. I even divided it and traded part of it and it is huge now! Good'll be glad you bought them.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2006 at 5:49PM
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butterfly15_ca(Sunset15 USDA9b)

You can grow them. Don't let garden centers tell you that they will die at 32 or even 40 degrees. They can easily survive to 28-25 degrees, as I live in zone 9 and have seen plenty of them around (in the ground).

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 1:51PM
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romando(9b/10a , sunset 17)

There are lots in Berkeley...

Amanda 'romando'

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 10:07PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

How long do they take to flower. Our local kmart has some for 20.00 They are about 5 ft tall now. Do they have to get really tall before they will flower? TIA

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 3:15PM
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butterfly15_ca(Sunset15 USDA9b)

I heard that they may take a few years to flower. However, they have such beautiful and giant leaves, I think the flowers can have their turn later, LOL!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 10:19PM
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i just bought one from Homdepot for 5dollar in one gal.
how should BOP be water? is it like regular water or dry ground?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 12:56AM
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They do not need a lot of water.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 10:10PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

There are no big Giant Bird of Paradise in Sacramento. The foliage will regularly burn in freezes at about 28/29F in northern California, and while they will come back from the roots, Sacramento regularly gets these temps almost every winter. So if you expect to have a trouble free plant that looks good year round, you better be prepared to protect this plant from freezing, and with their size as they get larger, this isn't the easiest thing to do.

There are alot of GBOP's in Berkeley/Oakland, and they do much better here because we usually only get 28F about every 10 years. The younger plants were burnt here in last January's freeze, and my own plants in my garden were just barely singed at 28F, but were also somewhat protected by overhead deciduous trees, and these low temps only lasted for a couple of hours, rather than all night long. The same plant was killed to the ground at 25F for 10 days in a row in the 1990 freeze, but is now 18 feet tall. This is in Berkeley, Sunset zone 17...

Not a good choice for a landscape plant in Sacramento/Sunset zone 14 conditions, better in Sunset 16/17 here in northern California.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 2:26AM
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FYI, the 99 cent store always seems to carry BOP 2" plants. I bought one about a year ago and it quickly grew to about 5' in a larger pot. I am assuming it is the giant, white BOP because the leaves are larger than the orange/blue BOP. I cut it down somewhat to take to a plant trade gathering, but forgot it at home :-(. It is now about 3-4' again.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 9:29AM
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Yes this is an old thread, but I need to make some points clear. In replying to bahia:

GBP do grow in Sacramento just fine. If you are downtown/midtown, I have seen multiple plants over 10-15ft. That's because certain areas are almost zone 10a there. But as you move away from downtown, then you quickly move into a solid zone 9B and average temps are 27-28F for a low. I have however seen some growing that defy the odds like in Folsom and was around 15 ft high. I live outside of downtown and GBP do not die, but they are limited to around 6ft due to the cold unless they are protected.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 2:37AM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

think you guys are talking about the white bird of paradise Strelitzia nicholai, never heard them called giant bird of paradise. Or are you talking about Traveler's Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis)?which some people confuse for both birds, though close relative.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 12:39PM
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Hello: my BOP is at least 7 years old and never have I seen it bloom. It is in full sun and it is at least 10 feet tall. what to do?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 10:31AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

People are entitled to believe what they want to believe about what their climate zone is. I wouldn't make a claim that parts of downtown Sacramento could ever be considered almost a zone 10a, just as I think it is a stretch to consider my part of Berkeley a reliable zone 10a, although it may be 9 out of 10 winters. We are talking about Strelitzia nicholai here, the Ravenella simply doesn't tolerate northern California winters, the soils stay too wet and cold and they rot away.

While there may be the occasional Strelitzia nicholai in downtown Sacramento up against buildings which benefit from reradiated heat and don't tend to look frozen back after each winter, the foliage will get zapped in a major way when temps drop below freezing here. In a hot summer area like Sacto, they will regrow new foliage more quickly, but the mature size will be restricted by being frozen back so often. This plant would really only be suitable as a long term specimen, in my opinion, where it is up against a wall or protected by an overhang or evergreen trees. Out in the open in a Sacramento garden, it will tend to get frozen browned foliage almost every winter, and 25F temps will kill it back to the ground.

They can bloom at smaller sizes, I've seen 15 gallon sized plants in southern California that may only have had 3 feet of trunk blooming, as I've also had some that were relatively young and foliage topped out at 10 feet bloom here in Oakland. I've also got one in my front yard that has 10 feet of trunk that has never bloomed yet. Full sun, hotter weather year round and regular feeding will encourage them to bloom at smaller sizes, and also being planted in the ground.

Not to discourage someone from planting one in a USDA zone 9b climate here in northern California, but be prepared to cover them if you don't like looking at burnt foliage for 6 months out of the year after a freeze. They do burn foliage right at 32F here in Berkeley, if it is more than just an hour or two.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 4:05PM
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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

If you're in a protected location (be it in Sacramento or Berkely) you can go several years without getting any significant frost damage. However, if a hard freeze rolls around, like they tend to do every ten years or so, they will definitely freeze to the ground, and re sprout the following spring. There are very large ones in Fresno near downtown, as well as along residential areas adjacent to the San Joaquin River, that are over 15 feet tall, trunk and all.

That being said, mine here in rural Chowchilla have never trunked. Even the old ones around town are a large clump of leaves, almost like a strelitzia reginae on steroids. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 11:47AM
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I wish the orginal poster could report back on the fate of those plants.if he still has that home.
This years lows in Sacramento were in the bonechilling-22-28f range I hear. At 30f long enough I've had (2007) all leaves singed in Hayward. This years 30f was so short-very little damage to parts of some leaves. But that heat in Sacramento sure makes for out of zone plants do well.
I heard that a Vintner in Modesto-Gallo? has a huge covered courtyard with Howea,King palms and GBOP with tall dwarf phoenix.
Is it heated in extreme cold? I dont know-but wouldnt doubt it!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 8:04PM
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