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Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Pronunciation: ses-al-PIN-ee-uh pul-KAIR-ih-muh
Family: Fabaceae
Synonym: Poinciana pulcherrima
Common Name: Barbados Pride, Peacock Flower, Dwarf Poinciana, Red Bird of Paradise
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 20ft (6m)
Width to: 12ft (4m)
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • mid spring
  • late spring
  • early summer
  • mid summer
  • late summer
  • early autumn
  • mid autumn
Bloom Description: Barbados Pride (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) bears erect racemes, to 8in (20cm) long, of up to 40 irregularly bowl-shaped flowers, 1 1/4-1 1/2in (3-4cm) across, with orange-yellow or yellow petals, orange-red sepals, and red stamens
Soil Type: under glass, grow in soil based potting mix, with additional leaf mold. Outdoors, grow in moist, but well drained, fertile soil
Plant Perks:
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Attracts Butterflies
Pests and Diseases: fungal canker and dieback. Spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs can be problems when grown indoors
Propagation: Sow Barbados Pride (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) seed at 55-64ºF/13-18ºC in spring, after soaking in warm water for 24 hours. Root softwood cuttings in spring, or greenwood cuttings in summer.
Native to: West Indies
Winter Sowing Zones: none
Notes for Identification:

Barbados Pride (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

Use Barbados Pride as a specimen or in a mixed shrub border. It has an open, spreading habit and the branches sometimes get too long for their own good and break off. Still, a line of peacock flowers makes a showy fine-textured screen or informal hedge. You can cut peacock flower to the ground in late winter or early spring to get a bushier, more compact shrub.

Care:  In growing season, water moderately and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly; water sparingly in winter.  Pot on or top-dress in early spring. It is very easy to grow in alkaline to acidic, well-drained soils. This is a fast growing, but short lived plant. It is moderately tolerant of salty conditions. Peacock flower benefits from pruning, and can be shaped to tree form or shrubby bush form.

Barbados Pride (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) may survive short spells around 32ºF (0ºC).

Pruning: Plants grown indoors may need restrictive pruning after flowering.  Those grown outdoors should be pruned by lightly trimming shoots that spoil symmetry and deadheading as flowers fade.  Remove dead or damaged growth in mid-spring.

WARNING: Most references say that Barbados Pride (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) is poisonous, but people in central Africa do eat the seeds, presumably after boiling in several changes of water. Don't plant this sharply thorny shrub near pedestrian traffic 

Source: Various sources including The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Floridata  and the USDA


USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 0
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