Mexican Bird Of Paradise Plant (Caesalpinia Mexicana)
The Mexican bird of paradise plant is an ornamental shrub with striking yellow flowers. The scientific name of the Mexican bird of paradise plant is Caesalpinia Mexicana. However, it is also known by other names such as Mexican Caesalpinia, Poincianella Mexicana, Mexican Poinciana, Poinciana Mexicana, Mexican Holdback, New Mexico bird of paradise plant, etc. In this article, we are going to describe the Mexican bird of paradise plant and tell you how to grow it.
Mexican Bird of Paradise Plant Description
The Mexican bird of paradise is a species in the family Fabaceae, native to Northern Mexico. The yellow Mexican bird of paradise tree or large shrub has lush dark green leaves, with soft airy textured leaflets. The mature height of this evergreen plant can reach 8 to 10 feet with similar spread. But you can easily prune it to a small tree or a shrub. If you are interested in a smaller variety, Caesalpinia Pulcherrima could be a suitable choice.
The Mexican bird of paradise bush flower have an eye-capturing yellow color, and attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Its flowers blossom for several months in the summer, mainly from March until October. In warm climates, the Mexican bird of paradise plant is able to maintain year-round foliage. During mild winters, its leaves start to cling to the branches; creating a tropical ambiance in your garden.
The Mexican bird of paradise seeds and pods are toxic when ingested. So keep the plant out of reach of young children and pets to avoid potential harms.
Mexican Bird Of Paradise Plant Varieties
Apart from the Mexican bird of paradise plant, other important Caesalpinia varieties include:
Known as desert or yellow bird of paradise, this plant produces clusters of exotic yellow flowers with long red stamens. Growing up to 6 to 10 feet and spreading to 4 to 6 feet at maturity, this variety has an open form with brittle branches and medium green leaflets. Similar to the yellow Mexican bird of paradise tree, this plant can also adorn both tropical and desert landscapes beautifully.
Also called red bird of paradise, this variety is not as tough as yellow bird of paradise against cold. It has orange and yellow flower clusters throughout the warm season, and add a vibrant accent to any landscape. The flower clusters are later followed by seed pods. Red bird of paradise thrives in hot areas, and its foliage turns a nice red color in the cold. When it is established and left untrimmed, it can grow over 6 feet. It grows best if you provide good drainage for it.
Tip: When it comes to the Mexican bird of paradise plant varieties, a lot of people mistake red bird of paradise for the Mexican bird of paradise plant. However, as the name suggests, the yellow Mexican bird of paradise tree have all yellow flowers. It also have larger leaves, while retaining the same shape as the red bird of paradise. In addition, the Mexican bird of paradise plant has a shorter blooming season and only flowers during the spring.
Propagating Mexican Bird Of Paradise Seeds
To propagate caesalpinia mexicana plant, follow these steps:
- Start with gathering the Mexican bird of paradise seed pods and placing them in a paper bag. Store this bag in a dry and dark spot until they dry out completely and open up.
- Once the Mexican bird of paradise seed pods are open, remove all the hard seeds.
- Next, smoothen their surface with a sandpaper. Be gentle to avoid damaging the Mexican bird of paradise seeds. This process (called seed scarification) lets the seeds absorb water for germinating.
- Soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours. Then, plant them in a container filled with general potting soil, and place in a sunny spot. Make sure to plant the Mexican bird of paradise seeds half-inch deep in the soil mixture.
- Until the germination is done, water the seeds to keep the soil mixture moist (and not wet) all the time.
Once the Mexican bird of paradise plant seedlings are tall enough, you can let the soil slightly dry between irrigations. Remember that when the Mexican bird of paradise bush reaches its mature height, it can tolerate drought and prefers the soil to dry out before you water it.
Yellow Mexican Bird Of Paradise Tree Care
Basically, the Mexican bird of paradise plant shares the same growing requirements as its similar varieties. However, it is important that you know the subtle differences to grow your Mexican bird of paradise plant better and increase gardening experience. Here are the needs of this hardy and lovely plant:
- Watering: Yellow Mexican bird of paradise tree water needs are average. It is a good idea to schedule consistent watering for growing it without issues. During the blooming season, water it every two weeks. Also, do not overwater to avoid root rot.
- Soil: Fortunately, the New Mexico bird of paradise plant tolerates all types of soils. But is performs best in a well-drained and loamy potting soil mixture that is able to maintain some moisture.
- Light: The yellow Mexican bird of paradise tree grows best under the full sun. Although it tolerates partial shade, you should avoid placing it in too shady places as it reduces the number of it charming flowers.
- Temperature: The Mexican bird of paradise plant loves heat, and temperatures below 25° F (-4° C) could damage it.
- Fertilization: During the initial growth period of the Mexican bird of paradise bush, feed regularly. After this period, fertilize once or twice a year. This plant does not need additional fertilizers, but might benefit from it depending on the growing conditions.
- Pest and Diseases: We mentioned that the Mexican bird of paradise plant is hardy, but look for aphids and powdery mildew, especially before it is mature. With providing enough water and light for the seedlings and proper care, the risk of infestation is very low.
Pruning Mexican Bird Of Paradise
After the establishment of the yellow Mexican bird of paradise tree, it does not need too much maintenance. At that time, you are probably interested in Mexican bird of paradise pruning. Occasionally pruning and trimming this plant will help you to keep it in a neat and manageable shape.
The best time for the Mexican bird of paradise pruning is during the winter season, when it is dying down naturally. You can prune it a third back or all the way to the ground. To encourage frequent and more flowering, prune off the Mexican bird of paradise seed pods. Also, provide supplemental water every week or every two weeks during the blooming period.