Caesalpinia mexicana - Mexican Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise plants are splendid for desert gardens. They thrive in scorching heat with almost no water, while looking lush and airy, a relief in a panorama of cactus.
Caesalpinia mexicana blooms spikes of butter yellow blossoms that pop against feathery green foliage. They flower throughout the warm season, then form woody pods that explode as they mature. Caesalpina grows fairly rapidly to 10' tall and wide, can be can be grown as a small tree or pruned to keep it a fat shrub.
Native to Northern Mexico, it needs full sun, good drainage, very little water. It's evergreen in zones 9-10, will lose it leaves if frost occurs, but is hardy to 15°F. This is a lovely plant for any garden. Hummingbirds flock to the buttery flowers.
Nick/scratch the hard seed coat. You can use a nail file, or rub gently on the cement, just enough to allow water inside. Soak in warm water for 24 hours, changing the water several times if possible. Once the seeds look like they are swollen, they are ready for planting. Don't bury seeds too deeply, surface sow and then gently push into the soil, covering with a light sprinkling of soil. Place plastic wrap over your pot to keep in heat and moisture. Place in a warm spot, but out of direct sunlight until it is established. Remove plastic wrap once you have seedlings.
We recommend starting your seeds in peat pots so you can easily transfer to their permanent location without disturbing the roots. Very drought tolerant once established, prune in spring.