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Glendale Public Library
Xeriscape Demonstration Garden Information Sheet

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Caesalpinia pulcherrima-Red Bird of Paradise

Native in the West Indies, this shrub is without a doubt the most popular summer bloomer in the Phoenix area. From May through August this tropical-looking shrub produces loads of spectacular flower clusters. Red bird of paradise drops its leaves in the winter, and usually suffers some frost damage. It is hardy to about 15 F. In the early spring, after the danger of frost has passed, you should cut this shrub back to 6 to 12 inches above the ground. As soon as the weather heats up, it will explode into growth, growing to 5 to 6 feet tall and wide in one summer. Deep, weekly irrigation during the bloom season will keep plants healthy and prolong the flower display. It performs best in full sun and well-drained soil. USDA Zone 8. 

Ripe seeds are reported to be poisonous.  This plant does not look like much in the winter but there is a continuous supply of nectar from spring until October.

Webmaster & Author George Hull Last Updated August 10, 2003