The Red Bird of Paradise is one of several desert plants that I recommend for people who want desert plants that are perennial (you need to plant them only once), hardy, low care, relatively drought resistant, easy to find, pretty cheap to buy, and provide lovely color many times during the year.
The botanical name for Red Bird of Paradise is Caesalpinia pulcherrima. In the Phoenix area, many people refer to this red and orange version as the Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) which actually has all yellow flowers. The Red Bird of Paradise is an evergreen shrub that enjoys full sun and has bright yellow flowers, with orange and red centers that grow out of long, thin stalks. The leaves are ferny-looking. The Red Bird of Paradise is a fairly fast grower, and can get large, so periodic trimming is suggested. Red Bird of Paradise will do well in any soil, but the better drainage you have the healthier the plant will be. I cut mine back in the winter, since they don't take the frosty nights well, but they always come back strong and healthy. The seeds and pods may be poisonous so don't let the children put them in their mouths.
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