in Tucson, Phoenix,
and Southern California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, and Southern California

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Caesalpinia gilliesii: Bird-of-Paradise Shrub / Yellow Bird of Paradise

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Form: Shrub with open, casual appearance.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but cold deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 6' high and nearly as wide.
Flowers: Yellow flowers in spikes, with 3" long red stamens.
Bloom: Spring through summer.
Fruit: Slightly curved brown seed pods pop open unexpectedly when ripe, scattering large, flattened bean-like seeds. The pods are ready to open when the seeds inside can be heard rattling freely.
Leaves: Small green acacia-like leaflets.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: A nitrogen-fixing legume*.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Toxic / Danger: All parts are poisonous.
Origin: Argentina.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 7-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to avoid fungal infections during rainy season.
Water once established: Monthly at a minimum.
Soil: Well-drained, low organic content, pH 5.6-8.5 (acidic to alkaline). Needs hole at least 24" deep; shallow rocky soil results in a stunted plant. *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Mulch: Keep away from stem if used.
Prune: After date of last frost to remove dead and damaged stems.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed.
Uses: Ornamental.

Long lasting and hardy.

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