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Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Caesalpinia pulcherrima
pride of Barbados
Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Regrowth in late June

Common name pride of Barbados
Family fabaceae
Life cycle tender shrub (Z8-11)
Flowers orange-red (summer-fall)
Size to 8'
Light sun
Cultural notes well drained soil

Heat-loving evergreen plant with attractive red/orange flowers and twice-compound leaves composed of tiny oval leaflets. The flowers, which appear year-round in tropical climates and start up in late summer following a winter die-back, attract hummingbirds. Most likely native to the West Indies, it is frost-tender, likely to die back to the ground when hit by a sustained freeze – but it will generally return from its roots in our Houston climate. This was put to the test in January 2018, when a bad freeze clobbered our tender plants. I thought our pride of Barbados was toast when it still hadn't shown signs of life by mid-spring; however, I suddenly spotted its regrowth emerging underneath some other plants that had moved into its space in late June: sure enough, its roots survived, although the specimen was severely set back. That same week I noticed some plants nicely in bloom at the University of Houston; I guess the few degrees higher temperature in the city allowed those to survive with some of their top growth intact.

pride of Barbados
Long seed pods develop after the flowers fade

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: back fence border

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Last modified: September 28, 2018
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