Louis on the Loose

Yellow Bird-of-Paradise Shrub: In bud in April ?!







Here's how to grow Yellow bird-of-paradise shrub:


Latin Name

Caesalpinia gilliesii

Common Name

Yellow bird-of-paradise shrub


Leguminoseae, the pea family

What kind of plant is it?

Depending on the mildness of the Winter, a returning die-back shrub or a large shrub.  Deciduous where Winters are cool or there's actual frost.  In a really long-season locale (and by starting seeds indoors in the Winter), blooms the first year:  So it could even be used as an annual.


Zones 7 - 10


Loose shrub, as wide as it is tall.

Rate of Growth


Size in ten years

Full-size:  6 feet tall and wide.


Ferny and airy.  Free-range shrubs can be rangy and open.

Grown for

Voluptuous yellow-petaled flowers with impossibly long red-stemmed, yellow-tipped pistils.  Favorites of butterflies and hummingbirds.  Blue much-divided ferny foliage.  Exciting "cobs" of flower buds.

Flowering season

Blooms at the tips of that season's new growth.  Spring and Summer.


All possible heat and sun; drought-tolerant after established.  Well-drained soil.

How to handle it

Self-reliant to the point of naturalization in congenial climates like West Texas.  If (and only if) it gets fantastic drainage and protection from Winter wet, can be grown as a heavily-mulched-in-Winter die-back shrub.  Or grow it in a container.  In the Winter, keep it cool (50 degrees or lower) so it will drop its leaves and go dormant.  Prune in Spring.  Flowers at the tips of new growth, so some pinching or pruning will help increase the blooms.




Related Caesalpinia pulcherrima, 'Pride of Barbados', is more tender and (if possible) even more showy, with red and yellow petals.


At garden centers where it can be grown in-ground; also on-line


Seeds and cuttings

Native habitat


















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