Gardening
in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Growing Caesalpinia mexicana: Mexican Bird of Paradise

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Description
Form: A large, multi-stemmed shrub that can be pruned into a tree.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but frost-deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 10-15' high and wide where winter temperatures allow.
Flowers: Bright yellow, slightly fragrant, clustered spikes on branch tips.
Bloom: Spring, summer, possibly into fall, depending on local microclimate.
Fruit: A tan seed pod that opens explosively to eject bean-like seeds.
Leaves: Dark green, oval leaflets.
Stems: No thorns, very brittle.
Roots: A nitrogen-fixing legume*.
Wildlife: Attracts insects.
Toxic / Danger: The seeds are poisonous.
Origin: Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Once a month. More often improves flowering.
Soil: Well drained, pH 5.6-7.8 (acidic to slightly alkaline). *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: Remove winter damage and control size after the last frost. Do not over-prune.
Litter: Moderate to high.
Propagation: Seed.
Uses: Ornamental.

Comments
This plant is a member of the Legume family (Leguminosae). It is a very large shrub that often does not respond well to pruning, and is best pruned only after the last frost. If a smaller plant is desired, another species should be used, possibly Caesalpinia pulcherrima 'Phoenix Bird', a yellow version of Red Bird of Paradise.



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Latest update: January, 2019.

Caesalpinia mexicana: Mexican Bird of Paradise - flowers

Caesalpinia mexicana: Mexican Bird of Paradise - seed pods

Caesalpinia mexicana: Mexican Bird of Paradise - shrub

Caesalpinia mexicana: Mexican Bird of Paradise - tree