flowers are cupped with five crinkled orange and
red petals and 10 red stamens.
Pride of Barbados is one of the most beautiful tropical
plants for the home landscape. As the name suggests, it
is the national tree of Barbados the island paradise in
the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. It is such an
incredible plant, it was also named a Texas Super Star
your first thought is that they grow citrus in Texas so
no problem growing a plant like the Pride of Barbados.
That would be true but Texas was also recognizing the
plant as an outstanding annual for the home landscape,
even in the frigid clime of the panhandle. So in Texas
it is evergreen in zone 9, returning perennial in zone
8, and an annual in all other zones.
do a little homework first. The Pride of Barbados is
known botanically as Caesalpinia pulcherrima and is in
the pea family. It is native to the West Indies and has
a host of common names, like Barbados Pride, Peacock
Flower, Red Bird of Paradise, Barbados Flower Fence and
the last one, Dwarf Poinciana, which to me tells the
true story of its beauty.
the Caribbean you will also find the Royal Poinciana
also called Flamboyant tree, known botanically as
Delonix regia. It is site that will give lasting
memories. Thus the Pride of Barbados is so spectacular
with fiery red/orange and yellow blooms it looks as
though it is a dwarf version of the Royal Poinciana, a
official Pride of Barbados has incredibly showy blossoms
of orange and red, there are however yellow versions and
pink ones as well. The individual flowers are
cupped-shaped, 2–3 inches across, with five crinkled,
red and yellow/orange petals, and ten prominent bright
South Texas they were the hallmark shrub planting
welcoming visitors to my subdivision. While I lived in
Mission, Texas a frost never occurred. These shrubs
reached slightly over 7-foot tall and were dazzling for
months. In Savannah we are growing it successfully too
but in a different way. Each winter ours are knocked to
the ground by freezing temperatures but they rebound
giving weeks of the riotous color.
a marketing campaign like the Texas Superstar program
there is great impetus on what might be considered
drive-thru marketing. The green industry is primed to
have the plants available for the promotion period. Once
gardeners like you and I buy the plants and see how
great they are we will want to purchase for years to
outside of Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona and
California the rest of us may have to hunt for plants or
seeds. Seeds are always easy to find, while mail order
plants are a little tougher. Seeds are normally started
indoors about six to 8 weeks before the last frost date.
The seeds are very hard so a little scratching with
sandpaper will allow for quicker and better water
penetration and thus germination.
your last frost has occurred you can grow outside in
full sun as a showy thriller plant in a mixed container
or plant in the landscape into very well drained soil.
If you live in zone 8 and want it to be a returning
perennial give any extra consideration to micro climates
that might even offer a little more winter protection.
In the more humid rainy Southeast consider planting on
raised beds for that crucial winter drainage. Pay
attention and you may be able to harvest dried seeds for
planting in subsequent years.
Pride of Barbados has fine textured foliage that is
reminiscent of a mimosa and might cause you to think it
is not tough in the summer sun. This is simply not the
case and as I watched them perform day after day in high
winds, coupled with triple-digit heat indices. Lantanas,
castor bean and ornamental grasses all make wonderful
addition to the Pride of Barbados, there are two other
species welcome in most gardens. Keep your eyes open for
plants or seeds of the Desert Bird of Paradise bush,
Caesalpinia gilliesii, with yellow flowers and long red
stamens and the showy golden yellow flowered Mexican
Bird of Paradise bush, Caesalpinia mexicana. Both are
candidates to return from the mid-teens and can be grown
as annuals. All of them bring in hummingbirds and wows
from your visitors.