The Q&A Archives: What is this beautiful plant?

Question: Phoenix AZ is covered with these beautiful yellow-orange plants with a fern-like leaf. They are about 4' tall and kind of whispy. It seems every commercial establishment has them planted. I would like some for my yard, what are they?

Answer: The plant you're referring to is commonly called Mexican Bird of Paradise, but that's a misnomer. It is actually Red Bird of Paradise. The botanical name is Caesalpinia pulcherrima. The Red Bird of Paradise is an evergreen shrub that enjoys full sun and has bright yellow flowers, with orange and red centers that grow out of long, thin stalks. The leaves are ferny-looking. The Red Bird of Paradise is a fairly fast grower, and can get large, so periodic trimming is suggested.

Red Bird of Paradise will do well in any soil, but the better drainage you have the healthier the plant will be. I cut mine back in the winter, since they don't take the frosty nights well, but they always come back string and healthy.

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