Mexican Bird Of Paradise
Read About The True Mexican Bird Of Paradise – Caesalpinia Mexicana
Mexican Bird Of Paradise Plant or the Mexican Poinciana has the botanical name Caesalpinia Mexicana and belongs to the family Fabaceae. This is a native plant of Mexico and West Indies. This is an evergreen shrub with vibrant and fragrant yellow flowers with the top petal of the flower having a spray of red spots. The flower also has 10 Stamens about the same length as the yellow petals. The plant can reach to a height of 15 feet and blooms in summer. It attracts lots of butterflies, bees and birds to your garden. The leaves of the Mexican bird of paradise plant are twice compound and has many small oval shaped leaflets. The petals are five in number and have a crinkled appearance. The flowers of the Mexican bird of paradise are produced in terminal clusters which are 8 to 10 inches tall. This shrub forms fruits, which are legumes and are flat and 3-4 inches long.
How to care?
This small tree is resistant to drought and can grow well in areas with plenty of sun and well drained soil. When planted in shady areas the flower production reduces. Though the plant requires water till it gets established, after that the plant requires less care. You may need to prune the Mexican bird of paradise occasionally to keep the plant manageable. The shrub adds beauty to your garden when planted as a group of 3-5. It is an ideal plant to form hedges around the pools or along a bare compound wall.
Pruning of Mexican Bird Of Paradise
The blooming season of this plant is from late spring to autumn and any major pruning of the plant should be done during late winter or early spring. You can also prune the plant to control the spread and to remove damaged parts. You can cut back the racked, damaged or diseased branch any time during the year. Cut back to the healthy wood to control the spread and height. Shear back the branch tips during autumn or early winter. You can do severe pruning in winter, leaving only 1 foot above the ground. During spring, the plant will grow back and will start blooming in summer.
How to grow from seed?
Mexican bird of paradise can remain evergreen in frost free zones. The tree drops leaves during winter in the colder areas. The plant usually grows from the hard shelled seeds. The seeds are collected after blooming from the seedpods.
- Crack open, the brown and brittle pods and collect the seeds and dry them thoroughly.
- You can store them in the refrigerator in containers.
- Sow the seeds in the spring about 6 weeks before the last frost.
- Remove the seeds from refrigerator and scratch or nick the seed on the rounded edge using an emery board or file.
- Now soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours so that the seed absorbs water through the nick in the seed that you created.
- Select the seeds which have sunk into the bottom and are swollen.
- Sow them in containers filled with one part sowing mix or seed raising mix and 1 part sand.
- Place the seeds 2 inches apart and cover them with the sowing mix to a thickness of ½ inch.
- Make sure that the mix is damp. The seeds will germinate within 1-4 weeks.
Transplant them into individual pots or outdoor area when the seedlings produce four leaflets. Place them at a distance of 6 feet while planting outdoors.