Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pride of Barbados, Caesalpinia pulcherrima (Fabaceae).

A member of the pea family and native to tropical America and the West Indies, Pride of Barbados  Caesalpinia pulcherrima dies to the ground here and comes back in late spring just when we despair of ever seeing it again.
From last June

Almost every year I save some seed and plant a few. Some germinate, some don't. Of 6, three have sprouted this year. It is suggested to soak the seeds and prick, soak again and plant. I just stick them in the soil.

Here are two seedlings. I put the first to sprout into a pot.
The empty cell is where the seedling below grew.

This year's seedling is in the rear.
Up front is a seedling from last year that
I dug this spring when it first sprouted and
brought inside in hopes of earlier bloom.

This is a seedling from two years back that
I dug when frost killed the top last fall.
It spent the winter with a bit of foliage at the bottom. As the days lengthened in late winter the seeming dead top began to put on growth. On the coldest nights, a lamp with a small bulb beside it kept the worst chill from it, as the greenhouse is not heated above survival for the hardiest.

The Caesalpinias outside have all begun to put on growth. When our cool nights warm to more tropical temps, these in the greenhouse will go outside. They are spectacular when planted with Tecoma stans (Esperanza).

Pride of Barbados from last June

Eventually I want a tropical hedge of Pride of Barbados and Tecoma stans.
It will need the help of some evergreen shrubs like Loropetalum and variegated Euonymous to carry the winter, backed against a field to the north and bare fruit trees.

July, 2011 

Did I mention that these shrubs attract butterflies and hummingbirds?


  1. Hi our Caesalpinia pulcherrima is already a fixture for decades, but because they are not cared for and not in full sun, they die back in the dry season. I cut them before the rainy season starts and they come back to life again. We normally plant them here as hedges. Mine is of the same color as yours, but i have a seedling now of the pink variety, i got the seeds from the highway when our bus stopped, LOL.

  2. Oh i forgot to say, that swallowtail is so pretty, i dont see it here. But our C pulcherrima is host to the small, cute yellow butterflies.

  3. That's a new one for me. Lovely!

  4. I have seen this I think in my mom's SW garden...great flower

  5. Beautiful blooms!! I would cross my fingers for all the seeds to germinate and grow to bloom!

  6. I love to see these plants which are not familiar to me, very beautiful, and three out of six is not bad at all.

  7. When we get a frost or freeze here in the desert, my Pride of Barbados bushes lose a lot of leaves, but never die back to the ground. That's a nice idea you have of planting them with Tecoma stans.


  9. I wait until well after the ground warms and the seedlings have reached some size. Exisiting plants in the ground do not send up growth until sometimes in May. I usually wait to plant seedlings in June. They are not likely to bloom first year, anyway.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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