Plants, Bush with Red, Orange and Yellow Flowers in Arizona – Red Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima

What is the desert flowering bush with Red, Yellow and Orange Flowers?  This common Tucson, Phoenix, AZ and Texas desert shrub is called the Red Bird of Paradise.

orange and yellow flowering bush

Bird of Paradise bush with orange yellow flowers

bean pods on arizona bushes

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise bean pods

It is one of the easiest desert flowers / plants to grow and take care of in the Phoenix, Tucson area of Arizona, along with Texas, California and throughout the Southwest. It is deciduous (loses its leaves seasonally), but will bloom constantly through the summer.

bushes with yellow orange flowers

Red Bird Of Paradise plants attract butterflies

arizona bush with yellow orange flowers

orange and yellow flowering bushes

The Red Bird of Paradise makes a good hedge.  The Orange and Yellow flowers are one of the best plants for butterflies & hummingbirds!

Caesalpinia pulcherrima bushes with orange flowers

Red Bird of Paradise, Pride of Barbados

The botanical name for Red Bird of Paradise is Caesalpinia pulcherrima, it is a species in the FABACEAE Family, more commonly known as the pea, bean or legume family. Red Bird of Paradise is also the NATIONAL flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, which is why you may hear it called Pride of Barbados.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima bush in Tucson

orange and yellow flowers continually bloom in the desert

Red Bird of Paradise is very hardy, drought resistant, tolerant once established. (they can have very long taproots) With a little mulch at the base, they come back year after year.

Red Bird of Paradise orange flowers

Red Bird of Paradise orange flowers

Pride of Barbados, flowering bush

orange red yellow flowers on the Red Bird of Paradise

The Red Bird of Paradise is a shrub that enjoys full sun and has bright red and orange flowers, with a splash of yellow that grow out of long, thin stalks.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima

bushes with red orange flowers in AZ TX CA

The leaves are lacy,  ferny-looking. It is a fairly fast grower, and can get large, so periodic trimming, pruning is suggested. The better drainage you have the healthier this flowering plant will be.

I’ve heard people in Tucson and Phoenix, AZ refer to this orange and yellow desert bush as the Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana). The actual Mexican Bird of Paradise has only yellow flowers and rounded leaves.

shrub with yellow flowers and round leaves

round leaves and yellow flowers of the Mexican Bird of Paradise Caesalpinia mexicana

Tucson flowering bush Pride of Barbados

vivid orange, red and yellow blooms

Orange yellow flowers on Red Bird of Paradise Shrub

Orange flowers on the Red Bird of Paradise Shrub

Bird of Paradise bushes are Perennial (you need to plant them only once) and provide vibrant orange and yellow color many times during the year!

Peat Pots, provides easy transplanting

To germinate the Red Bird of Paradise seeds, I simply soak the seeds from the bean pods in water for 24-48 hours.  I plant them in peat pots, barely cover the seeds. They germinate. If you decide to use the paper towel method to germinate your Bird of Paradise seeds, if a white shoot appears, plant it with the white root DOWN. Cover the seeds lightly with damp soil.  Red Bird of Paradise seeds need at least 8 hours of sun, but not direct sun it will be too hot! You can start to give them a little more direct sun after the first leaves appear.

Red Bird of Paradise Bean Pods

Bean Pods and Orange, Yellow Flowers

Peat Pots are great and make growing and transplanting your Red Bird of Paradise seedlings much easier. Start your seeds indoors and when you are ready to plant your Bird of Paradise just put the entire pot in the ground. Roots will penetrate the peat pot and the pot disintegrates enriching the soil.

shrub with orange yellow red flowers

young Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Caring for your Bird of Paradise plant:

Exposure: full sun,  gets leggy in shade and blooming is reduced

sometimes called the Mexican Bird of Paradise bush

lacy leaves and yellow , orange flowers of the Pride of Barbados

Maintenance:   pruning every year; sometimes pruned to ground in winter, periodic trimming to keep it shaped.

Tucson Phoenix orange flower bushes

Red Bird of Paradise shrubs with orange blooms

Water:  deep irrigation; once per week while blooming; height and growth rate determined by water supply; Bird of Paradise bushes and shrubs are drought resistant

Propagation: been pod seed, very ease

Soil: tolerant, good drainage

Hardiness: damaged at 32°F, with increasing damage as temperature decreases

Leaves: fern-like, normally bright green turning red in winter, sometimes leafless in winter

Range:  common throughout Sonoran deserts, Arizona, naturalized in Texas

Red Bird of Paradise drought resistant tolerant

Red Bird of Paradise with yellow and orange flowers is drought resistant/tolerant

Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) This plant has lacy leaves that fold up at night & spread open in the sun.

Red Bird of Paradise

Orange flowering bush in Arizona and Texas – Red Bird of Paradise

This large bush with abundant orange and yellow flowers THRIVES in intense heat and looks amazing with cactus, succulents in your landscaping.

Ocotillo cactus and Red Bird of Paradise landscaping.

Ocotillo cactus and Red Bird of Paradise landscaping

purple flowering bush red flowering shrub

Purple Texas Sage and Red Bird of Paradise Bushes

TIDBITS:  The Amazon Rainforest Medicine men had some medicinal uses for Red Bird of ParadiseCaesalpinia pulcherrima. Four grams from the root was used to induce abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.  The bean pods and seeds of the Bird of Paradise plant are toxic / poisonous and will cause abdominal symptoms and vomiting.

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16 thoughts on “Plants, Bush with Red, Orange and Yellow Flowers in Arizona – Red Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima

  1. The stark contrast of the desert landscape with blooms of flowers is so beautiful. Your photos are wonderful and I so enjoy seeing them. My husband & I lived in the high desert in So. Calif. For most of the year it was brown everywhere except when the poppies came out, carpets of orange and red everywhere and it was something to behold. Yours here reminds me of that. Thank you. Paulette

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    • These can grow large. We have several around our driveway which it seems I’m trimming once every other month. Now for winter, I will prune the Bird of Paradise approximately November, depending on the temperatures.
      Best Regards Lesli,
      Tj

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    • Hi Rich, the bean pods need to dry and turn brownish. Soak the seeds for a day or two before you plant them. Fall is right around the corner so you could hold on to the seeds till after winter. :) Not sure where you are located though?
      blessings,
      Tj

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  2. I’m surprised these are called Red Bird of Paradise. They don’t look anything like the more commonly known Bird of Paradise http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg106 : – ) TJ, didn’t you used to have a “Contact Me” page? I can’t find it. I wanted to let you know that I have an article and a post ready to go on the topic of motivation (that we talked about). I’m just waiting for the editors to approve my article so I can link my blog to it.

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