Pruning Desert Bird of Paradise bushes and shrubs – Red, Yellow, Orange Flowers

flowering desert shrubs called Mexican Bird of Paradise

Arizona Desert Bushes with Red Orange Flowers

When should you prune desert bird of paradise shrubs?

Caesalpinia pulcherrima plant with red flowers

Red Bird of Paradise shrubs blooming in the desert

Pruning your Red Bird of Paradise,  Caesalpinia pulcherrima , which is what I have, should be in late winter or early spring.

Arizona bushes with red flowers

Red Bird of Paradise is sometimes called Mexican Bird of Paradise

I pruned mine a few weeks ago with a sharp pair of garden sheers. Many people cut these plants almost to the ground. I don’t, I prune my Red Bird of Paradise bushes about 18 inches from ground level.

Red Bird of Paradise cutting

Trimming Caesalpinia pulcherrima – pruning desert Bird of Paradise bushes

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

Texas shrubs with orange red flowers

Red Desert Bird of Paradise, drought tolerant plants

The Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise need very little pruning.

Caesalpinia gilliesii is a drought tolerant desert shrub

Yellow Bird of Paradise has red stamens and yellow flowers

Caesalpinia gilliesii, or sometimes called Yellow Bird of Paradise or Desert Bird of Paradise is a shrub that has been naturalized in Texas;  planted as to give an effect of wild growth and may some year be considered native in the rest of the southwestern US.  In the photo below see the yellow bird of paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii.

TX bush with yellow flowers and bean pods

Yellow flowering Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii

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

Caesalpinia gilliesii mistaken for Mexican Bird of Paradise

Yellow blooming Bird of Paradise desert bush in AZ TX CA

Yellow BOP is drought tolerant and very durable, also cold and heat tolerant. Exposure to full sun is best for ALL Bird of Paradise Plants.   The yellow bird of paradise shrub is toxic.  

drought tolerant desert bush shrub

Yellow Bird of Paradise with Red Stamens

This Hardy Bird of Paradise shrub can grow to the height of 10 ft.

In the early Spring, prune to remove dead or damaged stems.  In the summer water your Yellow Bird of Paradise every week.  Water it deeply to stimulate an effective root system and tap-root.

The Mexican Bird of Paradise bush can be pruned and trained into a small tree, see photo below.

Mexican Bird of Paradise tree, well pruned

Mexican Bird of Paradise tree, well pruned

desert shrub with yellow flowers in Arizona

Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Bird of Paradise with yellow flowers

In the photo ABOVE see the yellow flowers and rounded shape of the leaves on the Mexican Bird of Paradise bush or tree.

Caesalpinia mexicana

Mexican Bird of Paradise small tree with yellow flowers

Whether you pick the Yellow, Mexican or Red Bird of Paradise shrubs or trees,  you are certainly choosing a winner for your desert garden!

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Small yellow flowering perennial tree, bush, shrub with round leaves – native Mexican Plants

What is the small tree with yellow flowers in Arizona and Texas?  Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Bird of Paradise is a flowering plant species in the pea family, Fabaceae. This drought tolerant, perennial tree is native to Mexico and the extreme lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Caesalpinia mexicana

Mexican Bird of Paradise

Caesalpinia mexicana

All parts of this Mexican plant are poisonous.  The showy Mexican Bird of Paradise plants, shrubs thrive in dry conditions.  Once the roots are established, they are drought tolerant.  The yellow flowers attract hummingbirds!  

If you are looking for a small shade tree that is flowering and easy to care for;  the Mexican Bird of Paradise is the best small shade tree for your yard and a good choice for xeriscape desert gardens.

Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Poinciana, does best in full sun.  It is a perennial flowering tree that is drought and heat resistant with rounded leaves and spikes of solid yellow flower clusters.  The fragrant yellow flowers of this Bird of Paradise are very showy and will bloom throughout the year.  The USDA Hardiness Zone is 9.

Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Bird of Paradise Plant

leaves and yellow flowers of Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Plants

In the photo ABOVE see the rounded shape of the leaves and the yellow flowers.of the native Mexican Bird of Paradise.

The Red Bird of Paradise, - commonly but mistakenly called The Mexican Bird of Paradise, -  has Red, Orange and Yellow Flowers that are seen all over Phoenix, Tucson, Southern Arizona, California and Texas.  See the Picture below.

Red Bird of Paradise Orange Red Flowers

The Mexican Bird of Paradise bush can be pruned and trained into a small tree, see photo below.

Mexican Bird of Paradise tree, well pruned

Mexican Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia mexicana

Yesterday in my travels through Tucson, AZ,  I noticed a Mexican Bird of Paradise small tree on a property that seemed abandoned.  It is unfortunate that this amazing native Mexican plant is not being treasured.  The good news is I noticed young bean pods that I will harvest when they ripen and dry.

PLANT AND GROW – How to grow bird of paradise plants, bushes, shrubs from Bean Pods 

Germinating the seeds for this Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Bird of Paradise, flowering tree will be easy!  I simply soak the seeds from the bean pods in water for 24 hours.  Many people use a damp paper towel.  If you are using the paper towel method to germinate your seeds, if a white shoot appears, plant it – white shoot facing DOWN.

peat pots

To plant and grow your bird of paradise – plant the seed in peat pots, barely cover it.  Cover the seeds lightly with damp vermiculite or your choice of a good soil.

vermiculite

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.

Peat Pots are great and make growing and transplanting your Mexican, Yellow or 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.