Optimal Temperature Ranges for Plant Growth in Nigeria (Part 2)

Tolu Adebola

Tolu Adebola

In our previous blog post, we delved into some of the vegetables that thrive in Nigeria and explored their specific temperature requirements. 

Today, we’ll further explore the significance of optimal temperature ranges for plant growth and discuss strategies that Nigerian farmers can employ to ensure favorable conditions for their crops. 

Given Nigeria’s diverse climate zones, it is crucial for farmers to adapt their cultivation practices accordingly to achieve the best results. Additionally, we’ll touch on the impact of climate change and the importance of implementing climate-resilient techniques in agricultural practices.

Adapting Cultivation Practices

Nigeria’s climate diversity presents a challenge for farmers as they must adapt their cultivation techniques to suit the varying temperature conditions across regions. Here are some strategies to optimize temperature conditions for specific crops:


To combat excessive heat stress, farmers can use effective techniques to protect their crops from the scorching sun. One such method is providing shade through the use of structures or agroforestry practices.


During peak hot periods, direct sunlight exposure can be detrimental to plants, affecting their physiological processes and causing heat-related damages. To mitigate this, farmers set up shade structures like shade nets or fabric covers to create a shielded area for the crops. This provides relief from the intense sunlight, reducing the risk of heat stress and maintaining optimal growth conditions.


Several crops in Nigeria benefit from these protective strategies. For instance, lettuce, known for its tender leaves, can wilt easily under intense heat. Farmers often use shade structures to shield lettuce crops, ensuring their freshness and quality.


Another example is coffee, which grows best in temperate conditions. To create the right environment for coffee plants, farmers may implement agroforestry by planting shade-providing trees around the coffee plantations. This helps maintain the ideal temperature for coffee beans to develop properly.


Applying mulch around plants is a well-known agricultural practice that offers several benefits to crops. Mulch acts as a temperature regulator, effectively moderating the soil temperature and providing protection to the plant’s roots from extreme heat or cold.


During hot weather, the mulch layer helps shield the soil and plant roots from excessive heat, preventing them from getting stressed or damaged. On the other hand, during colder periods, the mulch acts as an insulating layer, keeping the soil and roots warmer and safeguarding them from freezing temperatures.


Another advantage of mulch is its ability to conserve moisture in the soil. In hot weather, water evaporation can be significant, leading to dry soil conditions. The mulch layer helps reduce evaporation, keeping the soil moist and providing a steady water supply to the plants.


An example of a crop that benefits from mulching is tomatoes. Tomatoes are susceptible to both extreme heat and cold temperatures. By applying mulch around tomato plants, farmers can ensure a more stable soil temperature, protecting the plants from heat stress during hot periods and keeping the roots safe from cold temperatures.


Additionally, the mulch prevents rapid water evaporation from the soil, ensuring tomatoes receive adequate water even in hot weather. This leads to healthier and more flavorful tomatoes, supporting better crop yields.


Proper water management is vital for maintaining optimal temperature conditions and supporting crops in regions with hot and dry climates. Farmers understand the importance of providing sufficient water to their plants to ensure their health and productivity. One effective method they use is implementing efficient irrigation systems.


During periods of intense heat, plants can suffer from heat stress if they do not receive enough water. This can lead to wilting, stunted growth, and even crop failure. To avoid these negative effects, farmers rely on irrigation systems to deliver a consistent water supply to their crops. Regular and timely watering helps cool the plants and prevents them from experiencing stress due to extreme heat.


For instance, crops like corn (maize) greatly benefit from proper water management and irrigation. Corn requires a steady water supply, especially in hot and arid regions. Without sufficient water, corn plants can be susceptible to heat stress and other problems that affect their growth and yield.


To address this, farmers use various irrigation techniques such as drip irrigation or sprinkler systems to deliver water directly to the root zones of the corn plants. This ensures that the crops receive the appropriate amount of water without wastage through evaporation or runoff. The consistent water supply through irrigation safeguards the corn plants from heat stress, enabling them to grow vigorously and produce healthy corn.

Optimal Temperature for Some of The Vegetables Grown in Nigeria

Different crops have specific temperature requirements, and understanding these preferences is essential for farmers to make informed decisions about what to plant and when to plant them. Here are some examples of crops grown in Nigeria and their respective optimal temperature ranges:


  • Maize (Corn):

Optimal Temperature Range: 20°C to 30°C

Maize is a staple crop in Nigeria, and it thrives in warm to moderately hot temperatures. Temperatures within this range promote healthy plant growth and contribute to the development of well-filled ears of corn.


  • Rice:

Optimal Temperature Range: 20°C to 35°C

Rice is another essential crop in Nigeria, and it prefers a warm to hot climate. Temperatures within this range support the growth of rice plants and facilitate the maturation of rice grains.


  • Cassava:

Optimal Temperature Range: 25°C to 32°C

Cassava is a drought-tolerant root crop widely cultivated in Nigeria. It flourishes in tropical temperatures, where warm conditions promote rapid growth and root development.


  • Yam:

Optimal Temperature Range: 25°C to 30°C

Yam is a staple crop in Nigeria and prefers a warm and humid climate. It grows best in temperatures within this range, which encourage tuber formation and high yields.


  • Cowpea (Black-Eyed Pea):

Optimal Temperature Range: 25°C to 35°C

Cowpea is a drought-resistant legume cultivated in Nigeria. It thrives in hot temperatures and is well-suited for growing in the country’s savanna and arid regions.


  • Groundnut (Peanut):

Optimal Temperature Range: 20°C to 30°C

Groundnut is a major oilseed crop grown in Nigeria. It prefers warm temperatures for optimal growth and development of its pods containing the nutritious nuts.


  • Cabbage:

Optimal Temperature Range: 15°C to 25°C

Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable that prefers moderate temperatures. It grows well during the cooler months of the year when temperatures are within this range.


  • Watermelon: 

Optimal Temperature Range: 25°C to 30°C

Watermelon is a summer fruit crop that requires warm temperatures for proper vine growth and sweet fruit development.


  • Sorghum:

Optimal Temperature Range: 20°C to 35°C

Sorghum is a drought-resistant cereal grain cultivated in Nigeria. It can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but it flourishes in warm to hot conditions.


  • Millet:

Optimal Temperature Range: 25°C to 35°C

Millet is another important cereal crop in Nigeria. It prefers warm to hot temperatures and is well-suited for growing in arid and semi-arid regions.


  • Oil Palm:

Optimal Temperature Range: 25°C to 30°C

Oil palm is a major oil-producing crop in Nigeria. It grows best in warm tropical temperatures, where it can produce abundant oil-rich fruits.


  • Cocoa:

Optimal Temperature Range: 20°C to 32°C

Cocoa is a tropical crop grown for its beans, which are used to produce chocolate. It thrives in warm temperatures and high humidity.


  • Plantain:

Optimal Temperature Range: 25°C to 30°C

Plantain is a starchy fruit that is a staple in many Nigerian diets. It prefers warm temperatures and grows well in tropical regions.


  • Pineapple:

Optimal Temperature Range: 20°C to 30°C

Pineapple is a tropical fruit that requires warm temperatures for optimal growth and sweetness in its juicy fruits.


  • Citrus (Oranges, Tangerines, and Lemons):

Optimal Temperature Range: 15°C to 30°C. Citrus fruits are cultivated in various parts of Nigeria. They prefer a wide range of temperatures, with warm to moderately hot conditions being favorable for fruit production.



Recognizing and catering to the optimal temperature ranges for plant growth is a fundamental aspect of successful agriculture in Nigeria. This blog post emphasized the importance of understanding the temperature preferences of different crops and highlighted the necessity of adapting cultivation practices to specific microclimates.


Moreover, climate change remains a pressing concern for farmers, requiring the implementation of climate-resilient practices. By integrating appropriate strategies, Nigerian farmers and gardeners can enhance their crop yields, foster sustainable agricultural practices, and build resilience against the challenges posed by a changing climate. Through collective efforts, we can secure a thriving future for agriculture in Nigeria and ensure food security for generations to come.


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