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.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-11. This plant may resprout from its roots if frozen.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Best in 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.
Mulch: Cover root area with organic mulch before freezing temperatures are expected.
Prune: Remove winter damage and control size after the last frost. Do not over-prune.
Litter: Moderate to high: seed pods, leaves in freezing weather.
This plant is a member of the Legume family (Fabaceae). 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
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Latest update: March, 2020.