Last Updated on February 11, 2022 by Paul Guzman
The Red Bird of Paradise plant (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) is also called the Mexican red bird of paradise and pride of Barbados. The flowers produce beautiful bright red/orange blooms and thrive in hot warm climates. The fern-like small-sized foliage resembles a Mesquite bush or a fern shrub. It will make your landscape look tropical.
In tropical zones, it will last throughout the year-long season. In the Southwest where temperatures get below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it will go dormant. This means you will have to prune it back during the winter season.
Where to plant or place it? Plant it in full sun or in rock gardens. It is an excellent plant for a xeriscape landscape design. Use them with other desert-type plants. Desert Plants Names and Pictures.
It loves the hot sun including reflected sun from the walls. It needs plenty of water during its first two years of growth. It will go dormant during the cold seasons unless you live in an area where it rarely freezes. If so you will have a great-looking plant year-long. Give it plenty of space to grow, since it will get about 5-6 ft. tall and about 5 ft. wide. It will get much larger in tropical areas.
How to care for the Red Bird of Paradise
It is easy to care for once it is well established. No pruning is involved since it grows to a nice mounding size. However, you will have to cut down to the ground for the first 2-3 years of its life. After it is well established you will only have to cut down about three-fourths of the way down.
It does not need a lot of fertilizer and can tolerate poor soil. But it is beneficial to lightly feed during the early stages of growth. A good 20-20-20 type of fertilizer will suffice. If you want to be on the safe side dilute at half the ratio just in case. It is a plant that is insect and disease resistant.
Red Bird of Paradise Plant
Keep an eye out for powdery mildew and aphids during the initial stages of growth. Many times, people confuse the Yellow Bird of Paradise tree or shrub (C. Mexicana) with the Red Bird of paradise. Here is information on the Yellow Bird of Paradise.
What to do in colder regions?
Red Bird of Paradise gardening tip – If you live in places where you get freezing temps trim the plant down to the ground its first year and place medium-sized rocks over the top of the root system. This will help keep the root system warm during the chilly winter season. Red Bird of Paradise will have bright orange and red blooms, if you are looking for bright red-orange blooms in your landscape design, I highly recommend this plant for a great southwest garden design.
USDA gardening 8 – 11
The Mexican bird of paradise is another plant that is similar in looks. For more information on the Mexican variety please follow this link. Mexican Bird of Paradise.
Do you know the difference between the bird of paradise plants? Find out here.