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Caesalpinia Mexicana [Ses-al-PIN-ee-uh, Meks-sih-KAY-nuh] is a large shrub, which is pruned into a small tree.
It is a native to Northern Mexico and belongs to the family of Fabaceae (Leguminosae) along with:
- The Popcorn Cassia
- Powder Puff tree
- Dwarf Poinciana Tree (Caesalpinia Pulcherrima)
This plant is known for its bright yellow flowers and finely textured dark green foliage as it looks exquisite in any landscape or garden.
The scientific name of this plant is Caesalpinia Mexicana var. Pubescens and its common names include:
- Mexican Bird Of Paradise
- Mexican Caesalpinia
- Poincianella Mexicana
- Mexican Poinciana
- Poinciana Mexicana
- Mexican Holdback
Details about the true bird of Paradise:
- Strelitzia reginae (orange)
- Strelitzia nicolai (white)
Mexican Bird Of Paradise Plant Care
Size & Growth
This evergreen small tree or large shrub has lush dark green foliage with spikes of yellow flowers on terminal racemes.
The leaflets have a ferny or soft airy texture.
It grows 15” to 20” inches tall and wide once it matures at a moderately fast growth rate.
When grown in warm climates, this plant is able to maintain year-round foliage.
During mild winters, the bipinnately-compound leaves of the plant start clinging to the branches which creates a tropical ambiance in the garden.
Flowering and Fragrance
The Mexican Bird of Paradise sprouts beautiful yellow fragrant flower color, attracting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.
The flowers blossom for several months in the summer season, particularly from March till October.
Light & Temperature
This plant or tree grows best under the full sun, but also tolerates partial shade.
However, avoid placing it in a too shady place as it will reduce the number of flowers it produces.
It is a heat-loving plant and might experience damage if the temperature is below 25° degrees Fahrenheit (-4° C).
The USDA hardiness zone of this plant is 10 to 11.
Watering and Feeding
The water requirements of this plant are average.
It needs a consistent watering schedule to grow without any issues.
During the blooming season, water the plant every two weeks little to no supplemental watering.
Avoid overwatering as it will lead to damage.
Feed regularly during its initial growth period and then once or twice a year.
There isn’t a need for additional fertilizer, but might be beneficial as per the growing conditions.
Soil & Transplanting
This plant is tolerant of all types of soils but prefers a well-drained and loamy potting mixture, which is able to sustain some moisture.
Grooming and Maintenance
Once the Mexican Bird of Paradise establishes, it doesn’t need too much maintenance.
Prune the plant occasionally to maintain a neat and manageable shape.
Be sure to do this during the winter season, when the plant is naturally dying down.
Prune it a third back or all the way to the ground.
Prune off the seedpods that develop after flowers are spent to encourage profuse and frequent flowering.
Some supplemental water every week or two during the blooming period may also encourage more flowers.
How to Propagate Caesalpinia Mexicana Plant
The propagation of this plant is done using seeds.
Begin by gathering the seed pods and placing them in a paper bag.
Be sure to store the bag in a dry and dark spot to let them dry out and open up.
Once the pods open, take out all the hard seeds.
Take sandpaper to smoothen the surface of all seeds.
Do it gently to avoid damaging the seeds.
This process is referred to as seed scarification and enables the seeds to absorb water for the germination process.
Next, soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours and plant them under a sunny spot in a well-draining soil mixture.
You may also plant them in a container by using general potting soil.
Make sure the seeds are planted half-inch deep in the mixture.
Water the seeds to provide moisture and make sure to keep the soil moist until the germination is done.
Once the seedlings become tall enough, you may allow the soil to slightly dry between the watering.
When the plant reaches its mature height, it becomes drought tolerant and prefers the soil to dry out before the next watering.
Caesalpinia Mexicana Plant Pest or Diseases
Growing in the native areas, this plant is usually resistant to the majority of the diseases and pests.
However, be on a lookout for aphids and powdery mildew, especially during the early stages.
These issues typically arise when the seedlings don’t get sufficient water or light.
Therefore, with proper care, the risk of infestation gets low.
Is This Plant Toxic Or Poisonous?
The pods and the seeds of this plant are poisonous when ingested.
Be sure to keep the plant out of reach of children and pets to avoid any potential harm.
If a child or pet has consumed pods, seeds, or any other parts of the plant, then immediately call poison control.
Mexican Bird Of Paradise Plant Uses
The Mexican Bird of Paradise is a great addition to large patios or decks, low-maintenance medians, compact urban lots, parking lot islands, in containers.
It also works well when grown as a shrub with a mixed border.
If you desire an even smaller variety take a look at the Caesalpinia Pulcherrima.