Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pride of Barbados

While eating lunch with friends after church today, the subject of plants that produce colorful blooms in Southeast Texas came up. Glen and Mary mentioned that when they evacuated for Hurricane Ike, they stayed in Uvalde. While there, they became fascinated with mass plantings of a good-sized shrub with vivid red/orange blooms 3 inches across. When they returned home to Winnie, they called the city of Uvalde and asked for the name of the plant.

They had fallen in love with Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), an evergreen shrub that can grow to a small tree in frost-free areas. They called around local nurseries and found one at Al Cook's in Beaumont.

There are many things to like about this plant, which is so drought-hardy once established. In zone 9, it is a deciduous shrub. After a frost, it can die down, but comes back faithfully in spring and quickly attains 5 feet or more in height. It reseeds freely, so if you don't like to deadhead, plant it somewhere that you can mow around or weed out seedlings. The plant blooms in summer and fall and benefits from pruning to a desired shape - or you can let it spread into a small tree. It can grow in alkaline to acidic, well-drained soils. Full sun is best for the showiest blooms, but it tolerates some shade. All these positive traits earned the Pride of Barbados the Texas SuperStar designation.

1 comment:

  1. I am getting married in November of next year. I love this flower and think it is beautiful. Do you think this would be able to be used in my bouquet?