Asparagus Fern is my # 8 in the top Ten heat resistant plants


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Introducing the dramatic Asparagus densiflorus.  Even when southern Arizona reaches temperatures above 100 degrees the asparagus fern thrives!  Our desert garden has a subtropical ambience thanks to the ornate asparagus fern. This customary name is somewhat deceiving because the asparagus fern … Continue reading

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Sage bushes with Purple Flowers bring life to the desert!


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It is difficult to imagine that a flowering plant can thrive in hot desert temperatures; but, these vibrant purple sage bushes love the heat! Also known as Texas Ranger Plants, these lavender flowers fill the sage bushes that adorn the … Continue reading

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Bean pods on bushes with orange, yellow and red flowers – Growing tips


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Using bean pods to grow your bird of paradise plants is uncomplicated and well worth the effort. Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise, is a species of flowering plant in the Fabaceae, pea family. Other common names are Poinciana, Peacock Flower, Mexican Bird of … Continue reading

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Purple, Yellow, and Red Lantana are some of the best drought resistant plants


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Lantana is the best heat resistant plant that can add a punch of color to any flower bed. Lantana flowers come in a variety of orange, white, pink, yellow, purple, red and bi-color options. These hardy plants are native to … Continue reading

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Mandevilla on a Trellis – Arizona Desert Garden


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The MANDEVILLA vine is growing well.  This Mandevilla plant is native to Central and South America – named after Henry Mandeville (1773-1861), a British diplomat and gardener. Mandevilla, also known as Brazilian jasmine, Dipladenia,  is a flowering tropical plant that originated … Continue reading

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Pruning Bird of Paradise – Orange, Red and Yellow Flowering Bushes AZ, TX, CA, Mexico

Red, Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise plants, shrubs thrive in hot conditions and, once established, they are drought tolerant plants, with fern-looking leaves and orange, red or yellow flowers.

yellow flowering shrubs

Mexican and Red Bird of Paradise bushes

When do you prune desert bird of paradise?  Pruning your Red Bird of Paradise Caesalpinia pulcherrima , should be in late winter or early spring. Use a good pair of garden shears.  My Red Bird of Paradise bushes are pruned about 16-18 inches from ground level.

Phoenix Tucson bushes shrubs flowers

Pride of Barbados, bushes with red orange flowers

The Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise need very little pruningCaesalpinia gilliesii, Bird of Paradise Bush, or sometimes called Yellow Bird of Paradise or Desert Bird of Paradise is a shrub that has been naturalised (planted so as to give an effect of wild growth)  in Texas, and fairly common with some year, in the future,  being considered native to the southwestern US.  In the photo below see the yellow bird of paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii.

bushes with long red string things

Yellow Bird of Paradise Flowering Bush

This yellow flowering desert shrub has clusters of beautiful yellow flowers with long red stamens.

varieties of bird of paradise plants

long red stamen on Yellow Bird of Paradise plants

The Yellow Bird of Paradise is a fast growing, upright shrub that is originally from Argentina.  Pruning your Yellow Bird of Paradise bush will encourage dense growth. This long-lived, drought tolerant shrub is very durable and cold, heat tolerant.  Exposure to full sun is best for Bird of Paradise Plants.   All parts of the yellow bird of paradise shrub are toxic.  The Yellow Bird of Paradise can grow to the height of 10 ft.

bushes shrubs with bean pods

Yellow Bird of Paradise

Plant Yellow Bird of Paradise in full sun locations. This desert shrub does fine in any well-drained soil including rocky, native soils.  In the Spring, prune to remove dead or damaged stems.  In the summer water your Yellow Bird of Paradise every week.  Water it deeply to stimulate a long taproot.  Once established the Yellow Bird of Paradise will need less water.

Caesalpinia gilliesii, yellow bird of paradise

This is one of several desert plants that I recommend for people who want flowering plants that are perennial (you need to plant them only once), hardy, low care, relatively drought resistant (I water couple times a week, depending on the temp).

When you do water your Bird of Paradise, soak them because the bird of paradise will establish an efficient root system including a strong taproot.   They are easy to find, inexpensive, and provide bright color over and over through the year.  The Red Bird of Paradise is a winner for your Arizona or desert Garden!

Red Bird of Paradise, red, orange and yellow flowers

The Red Bird of Paradise is a fast grower, and will get large!  The bird of paradise is hardy and does well in any soil, but the better drainage you have the healthier the plant will be.

Texas bushes with orange red flowers

Red bird of paradise shrubs grow large

Bird of Paradise plants look bare during the winter but they always come back strong and healthy! The seeds and bean pods are poisonous so be careful your children and pets don’t eat them.

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

Texas bushes with orange flowers

Red Bird of Paradise is also Pride of Barbados Bush

bushes with red orange yellow flowers

To germinate the Red Bird of Paradise seeds, I simply soak the seeds from the bean pods in water for 24 hours.  I put them in peat pots, barely cover the seeds.

Peat Pots

If you decide to use the paper towel method to germinate your Bird of Paradise seeds, when the white shoot appears, plant them with the white root DOWN. Cover the seeds lightly with damp vermiculite. 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.

I’ve heard people in AZ refer to this red and orange desert bush as the Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana). The actual Mexican Bird of Paradise has yellow flowers and is larger. Being native to Mexico, Caesalpinia Mexicana  is the real Mexican Bird of Paradise. It is larger with  ROUND leaves but can be pruned into a smaller tree.

Mexican Bird of Paradise, can be pruned into a small tree

Grow your Bougainvillea Plant in containers and pots. They LOVE IT !!

Will my Bougainvillea plant grow in a container?  Yes and it will be a very happy plant.  Bougainvilleas do great in most types of pots and containers.  These plants are not easy to transplant so make sure the pot you choose is big enough to last the Bougainvillea for years to come.

Although they like their roots crowded in a container, Bougainvilleas do not like standing water.  Make sure your pot has good drainage so the Bougainvillea does not get root rot.

Bougainvillea flowering bush shrub

Growing Bougainvillea in large pots

Fill your container with potting soil and place the bougainvillea plant inside.  Find a sunny location and it will be easy to keep your Bougainvillea happy and healthy.

growin Bougainvillea in pots

Bougainvillea plants on your patio

Bougainvilleas have beautiful red, pink and purple colored bracts, which are specialized leaves that contain the plant’s white slender flowers.

Bougainvillea plants can grow rather large so they must be kept pruned in pots and containers.  You can train your Bougainvillea to grow up a trellis or in the shape of a tree.

growing bougainvilleas shrubs

Pink Bougainvillea thriving in a large container

During the winter, Bougainvillea plants can be most striking and provide gardens with abundant color.  Winter is when Bougainvillea Vines and Plants reach their peak color.

heat resistant plants Bougainvillia magenta blooms

Bougainvillias are tropical plants, magenta flowers, heat tolerant

The small heart shaped bracts of the Bougainvillea are quite delicate to the touch, and are crinkly in appearance.

can I grow bougainvilleas in containers

Bougainvillea potted plant growing up a trellis

How long will a Bougainvillea plant display their color?  The length of time depends on how much sun and heat it receives and how healthy the Bougainvillea plant is.

Typically, a healthy Bougainvillea will bloom for about 3 weeks.

Bougainvilleas love sun and more sun.  They are heat tolerant and the hotter the better.  At the very minimum Bougainvilleas need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight.

Desert flowering vines

Bougainvillea pink leaves and white flowers

Supply your Bougainvillea with regular monthly fertilization.  Nitrogen and phosphates are critical to flowering.  One of the best Bougainvillea fertilizers I’ve come across so far is BOUGAIN.

Pink flowers on Bougainvillea plants are leaves

large containers to grow Bougainvillea Plants

You can prune your Bougainvillea any time during the year because it does not affect bloom initiation.  If you want the Bougainvillea to grow up, then prune the outer branches.  If you want your Bougainvillea to grow out, then prune the new growth.  Trim your Bougainvillea drastically before bringing it inside for winter.

Bougainvillea tree plants

Bougainvilleas blooming in pots

Bougainvillea plants and vines have a BLOOM CYCLE followed by a rest cycle whether you trim them or not.

I recommend a little trim or pinching at the end of each Bougainvillea bloom cycle as it promotes more budding for the next one.  Our plants just ended a bloom cycle so I will be trimming Bougainvilleas this week.