Desert Bird of Paradise quick facts

Arizona’s well-known desert bird of paradise shrubs burgeon with vivid red flowers or delightful yellow blooms.  The red bird of paradise, Caesalpinia Pulcherrima, is our favorite and we have several constituting a border.

drought resistant shrubs with flowers
drought tolerant bushes with red flowers

This Red Bird of Paradise is a drought and heat tolerant shrub that relishes full sun with its lively red- orange flowers cultivating out of long, thin stalks.

drought tolerant shrubs
Desert Bird of Paradise with red flowers

All the Desert Bird of Paradise bushes are Perennial (only plant them once).  Pruning and trimming is standard since these desert plants are easy growers; reaching over 10 feet tall.  PRUNING your Desert Bird of Paradise

Looking for detailed information on the Mexican Bird of Paradise pictured below?

drought tolerant desert shrub
Mexican Desert Bird of Paradise with yellow flowers

Caring for your Desert Bird of Paradise:

  • Exposure: full sun,  gets leggy in shade and blooming is reduced
  • Water:  deep irrigation; twice a week while blooming; height & growth rate determined by water supply
  • Propagation: been pod seed, very easy; peat pots provide easy transplanting
  • Soil: very tolerant, needs 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 Arizona Sonora desert, Mexico and naturalized in Texas
  • Maintenance:   pruning every year; sometimes pruned to ground in winter, periodic trimming to keep it shaped
Texas yellow bird of paradise
Yellow Desert Bird of Paradise with long red stamen

More details for the Yellow Bird of Paradise shrub pictured below.

tucson texas bushes with yellow flowers
Yellow Bird of Paradise bush with red stamen

PROPAGATION:

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

germinating seeds
dissolving pots for Bird of Paradise seeds

To germinate Bird of Paradise seeds,  soak the seeds from the bean pods (pods need to be brown) in water for 48-72 hours.  Next plant them in peat pots, barely cover the seeds.  You may prefer to use the paper towel method to germinate your seeds; if so, when a white shoot (root) appears, plant it with the white root DOWN. Cover the seeds lightly with damp soil.

germinating and planting seeds
planting the seeds from the bean pods

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.

phoenix heat tolerant plant with flowers
Red Bird of Paradise shrubs with cactus

These resilient desert bushes THRIVE in intense heat and look stunning with cactus, succulents, Lantana, even Bougainvillea!

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Caesalpinia pulcherrima – Germinate the seeds from the bean pods – Growing your Bird of Paradise Plant

SEED PROPAGATION – We are germinating the seeds from our bird of paradise bean pods so that we can plant them along our driveway.

bean pod seeds
caesalpinia pulcherrima – Red Bird of Paradise flowering bushes

Some people like to use the paper-towel method to germinate the Bird of Paradise seeds.

Germinating the bean pod seeds using a paper towel — spray a paper towel with water, put the seeds on it, fold the paper towel over, and wait 24-48 hours.  Do NOT let the paper towel dry out.

seeds in wet paper towel
bean pod seeds germinating

I have several different types of seeds along with the Bird of Paradise Plants soaking on the paper towel above.  Now I’m ready to plant them in peat pots.

germinating seeds
supplies to grow bird of paradise plants from seed

** the cactus cuttings will be in a separate article

Along with the paper towel method for germinating the bean pod seeds;  I also soaked some seeds in a glass of water which you see in the photo above.  The seeds from the pods will become enlarged while they are soaking.  Some of them produced a white shoot.  That is a root and needs to placed facing DOWN in the peat pots.  Cover the seeds lightly with damp soil. 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.

germinating and planting seeds
planting the seeds from the bean pods

I pour a little water right on top of the seeds everyday making sure it stays moist.

Peat Pots are great and make growing and transplanting your Red Bird of Paradise seedlings much easier. Start your seeds indoors or a protected area outside 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.

red bird of paradise
caesalpinia pulcherrima with bean pods

Quick info:  The Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) has lacy leaves that fold up at night & spread open in the sun.