Great Design Plant: Red Bird-of-Paradise Soars With Color

When people first see that the vibrantly colored flowers of red bird-of-paradise, they literally stop in their tracks to stare at them. Flowers in shades appear with this tree in spring through summer. Red bird-of-paradise enjoys warm temperatures and lots of sunlight, which makes it perfect if you reside in the U.S. South or Southwest.

Read more flowers by colour

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Botanical name: Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Common names: Red bird-of-paradise, dwarf poinciana, peacock flower, pride-of-Barbados
Resource: Native to the West Indies and Mexico
Where it can rise: Hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 8 to 11); locate your zone
Water necessity: Moderate
moderate requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 6 to 10 feet tall and wide
Benefits and tolerances: Drought tolerant once established, however it will best if watered once per week in spring through autumn; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
Seasonal interest: Bright orange-red flowers appear in April through September.
When to plant: Spring, summer or autumn

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Distinguishing traits. The crowning glory of red bird-of-paradise is its beautiful flowers that are held aloft above the large shrub.

Varying shades of red, orange and yellow look on each flower, which makes these shrubs highly desired from the landscape. Once the flowers fade seedpods will follow. The flowers are a huge favorite of hummingbirds.

In tropical areas, such as Central America, red bird-of-paradise can become invasive.

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The foliage consists of leaflets that give a tropical appearance. Dormant in winter will die back to the floor, but it is going to grow back quickly from spring.

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A variety known as ‘Phoenix Bird’ has flowers that are yellow that are lovely.

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How to utilize it. This large tree looks fantastic planted in groups of five or three. Red bird-of-paradise along a wall may add a formerly bare expanse and attractiveness together. It’s appropriate to plant around swimming pools and may also be utilized as an informal hedge or to display your pool equipment or ac unit from view.

While many shrubs can’t handle areas with hot, reflected sun, red bird-of-paradise will thrive in such inhospitable spots. For maximum color impact, add purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis, sets 8 to 10) in front along with collections of angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis, sets 5 to 9) for great color contrast during the warm months.

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Planting and care. Red bird-of-paradise isn’t fussy. Plant it in a place with full sun in well-drained soil. Care is simple: Prune back badly in winter to 1 foot high. It will grow back quickly once spring arrives, and it’ll start blooming in April or May. In colder areas (zone 8), mulch the base of this tree in the winter to protect the roots.

To extend the flowering period, gently prune by removing the top 2 feet in August, which will stimulate new blooms through October.

Next: More shrubs with lovely flowers and foliage

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