Caesalpinia pulcherrima-Red Bird
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 15º 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.