Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Red Bird of Paradise
This showy desert bloomer is spectacular. The huge red and yellow flowers appear tropical, with long feathery stamens, amazing against the delicate ferny green foliage. But the plant is tough as nails.
Originally from Argentina, this desert beauty is much used to brighten drought-tolerant Southwest landscaping. It's tough and undemanding, happy in scorching sun or part shade, will tolerate the worst drought, and is hardy down to 5 degrees.
Easy to grow in zone 8-10, Red Bird of Paradise also makes a fine container plant elsewhere, perfect for a sunny window.
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.