Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

CAESALPINIA gilliesii

Image of Caesalpinia gilliesii

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

CAESALPINIA gilliesii

Plant Common Name

Bird-of-Paradise Bush

General Description

Delicate and absolutely striking in bloom, this tough desert shrub is a chameleon in the dry garden and equally good in the tropical border. It is native to Argentina and Uruguay where it thrives in dry washes and rocky hill country, just like its North American kin. Bird-of-paradise bush is so well adapted to the low desert it has naturalized in Texas and is even hardy across most of the American Southeast. This open upright shrub has a feathery appearance, with its light pinnate leaves, and is often planted among cacti and low shrubs or bromeliads which can be viewed through its tracery of twigs and leaves.

Bird-of-paradise bush has large exotic flowers that are very long-blooming, even in the heat of the summer. The smaller showy yellow petals surround a bold flash of protruding bright red stamens that are best viewed close up. Hummingbirds find the blooms irresistible, too.

Success with this plant depends largely on climate, location and soil. Do not locate it in full desert sun, but provide it with shelter from high tree canopies. It will be deciduous in mild winter regions that do encounter subfreezing temperatures. Beware of heavy, slow-draining soils as they will quickly cause root rot. This wispy shrub is often overlooked for showier species, but its gauzy appearance offers lots of interesting design opportunities.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    10'-12' / 3.0m - 3.7m

  • Width

    6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    Argentina, Chile

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red, Crimson

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Light Green

  • Bark Color

    Green, Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes