Caesalpinia pulcherrima, commonly known as the Peacock Flower or Pride of Barbados, is a visually stunning plant beloved by gardeners worldwide.
This evergreen shrub is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas. It is great for bringing a unique splash of color and tropical charm to your garden.
Pride of Barbados typically reaches a height of 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters), with a spread of about 6 to 12 feet (1.5 to 3.5 meters). This makes it an excellent choice for providing shade, or acting as a centerpiece in a larger garden design.
This plant is known for its showy flowers. These come in vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Blossoms are enchanting from late spring to early autumn, creating a display that is a real treat for the senses.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima is not only favored among gardeners for its striking beauty, but also for its hardiness and adaptability in warmer areas. It thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 11, and RHS Zones H3, making it suitable for a wide range of climates. It can be an excellent choice for garden types such as tropical, desert, and Mediterranean-style.
The plant is often grown for its ability to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and thus adds a further level of appeal to your garden.
The Peacock Flower is able to resist pests and diseases, and its maintenance is quite straightforward.
How to Grow Caesalpinia pulcherrima in the Garden
The Caesalpinia pulcherrima plant prefers a sunny spot, ideally with some afternoon shade so asd to protect it from the hottest sun.
It is tolerant of most soil types, and will thrive in a well-drained soil that is moderately fertile.
You can start Caesalpinia pulcherrima from seeds. To do this, first soak the seeds in warm water for about 24 hours, then sow about an inch (2.5 cm) deep directlt into the soil.
The best time to sow seeds is in the spring, but in consistently warm climates, sowing can be done at any time of the year.
Once established, the Caesalpinia pulcherrima requires minimal maintenance. It is drought-tolerant, and does not need frequent watering. That said, during long dry spells, it may prove a good idea to give the plant a good watering now and again.
Pruning is generally only required if you wish to control its size or shape.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima brings a touch of tropical beauty to any garden. With a little care, you can enjoy spectacular flowers and attractive foliage year after year.
Quick Pride of Barbados Growing and Care Guide
Scientific Name: Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Common Name(s): Pride of Barbados, Dwarf Poinciana, Peacock Flower.
Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 8-11. RHS Hardiness Rating: H3-H4.
Best Used For / Garden Location: Ideal for subtropical/tropical gardens. Thrives in sunny borders and as a centerpiece due to its vibrant, showy flowers.
Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial, deciduous shrub.
Plant Height: 6-20 feet (1.8-6 meters).
Plant Spread: 6-10 feet (1.8-3 meters).
Blooms: Summer through Fall.
Flower Details: The flowers are bright red and orange, composed of ruffled petals with long, protruding stamens.
Leaf Foliage: The leaves are bipinnate, medium green and fern-like in appearance.
Fruit: The plant produces brown, pod-like fruit which splits open when ripe to release seeds.
Growing Conditions and Location
Best Light Conditions: Full sun.
Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, sandy or loamy soil.
Sowing / planting: Sow seeds in spring in a well-drained compost.
Germination time: Germination typically takes 1-4 weeks at 20-30°C (68-86°F).
Propagation: Propagation can be done by seeds or by semi-hardwood cuttings.
Plant Care: Water regularly but allow the soil to dry out between watering. Prune after flowering to maintain shape and encourage dense growth.
Growing in pots and containers: It can be grown in large containers but will need to be overwintered indoors in cooler climates.
Growing as a House plant: In cooler climates, Pride of Barbados can be grown as a houseplant. It requires bright light, well-drained soil and regular watering but allow the soil to dry out between watering. Ensure it is pruned to maintain shape.
Miscellaneous: Pride of Barbados is a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. It is highly tolerant of heat and drought, but not frost-tolerant.
Pests and diseases: This plant is generally pest and disease free but can be susceptible to scale insects.
Common Cultivars / Varieties: Caesalpinia pulcherrima 'Compton', Features bright red-orange flowers. Caesalpinia pulcherrima 'Phoenix', Known for its fiery red and yellow flowers.
Family: Fabaceae, the Pea/Legume family.
Native: The Caribbean and tropical Americas.
Does Caesalpinia pulcherrima make a good garden or landscaping plant?
Pride of Barbados is an excellent choice for gardens or landscaping. It is loved for its vibrant flowers and fern-like leaves. It is ideal for adding tropical flair to your garden.
Is Caesalpinia pulcherrima a fragrant plant?
No, it does not have a significant fragrance. This makes Caesalpinia pulcherrima ideal for those who enjoy the beauty of flowers but are somewhat sensitive to strong floral scents.
What is the perfect location to grow Pride of Barbados?
Caesalpinia pulcherrima thrives in full sunlight, preferably in well-draining soil. As it is a tropical plant, it prefers warmer climates. That said, it can tolerate a bit of shade and short periods of cool temperatures.
Is Pride of Barbados invasive in the USA, if so in which states?
Caesalpinia pulcherrima is not considered invasive in the USA. It is primarily grown in warmer states such as Florida and Texas, but is not though to cause any significant ecological issues due to spread.
How do I remove Caesalpinia pulcherrima from my garden?
To remove Pride of Barbados, you'll need to dig out the root system entirely to ensure it doesn't re-grow. For larger specimens it may be necessary to hire a professional to safely remove the plant and roots.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a tropical plant native to the West Indies that thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It makes a great plant for warmer areas. In cooler areas you may prefer to grow it indoors, or use it as a summer outdoor plant.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Caesalpinia pulcherrima. You may also enjoy the following Fabaceae family growing guides: How to grow Rain tree, Wisteria sinensis, Cercis siliquastrum, and Baptisia plants in the garden.