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What Is a Mexican Bird of Paradise?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2014
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The Mexican bird of paradise, or Caesalpinia Mexicana, is a plant that is typically seen in North America, particularly in both the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is known for being easy to grow since it is largely drought-resistant, so it requires little water or care once it is established. It does best in full sunlight, especially in the spring and summer, which is when its yellow flowers bloom. Frigid weather and ice tend to make this kind of plant look bare quickly, but in the right climate, and with minimal water, it is rather easy to care for.

This plant can be grown as a large shrub that rarely needs to be pruned, or a small tree. It can grow up to measurements of about 25 feet (7.6 m) tall, and 15 feet (4.6 m) wide. The fact that it rarely needs to be watered or pruned often makes the Mexican bird of paradise a good fit for either a beginning gardener's yard, or for an area that receives little attention from landscapers, such as a common area or parking lot. Its stamens are typically red and long, opening up to eye-catching yellow flowers. When its bright flowers are not in bloom, the plant tends to stay dark green year round.

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The only time the Mexican bird of paradise needs some extra attention is when it is being planted. The location needs to be carefully considered since it needs full sun to thrive, and plenty of drainage. It needs to be watered regularly just after it is initially planted, and could use some fertilizer at this time, as well. The best time to plant the Mexican bird of paradise is in the fall, as it tends to bloom in the spring and summer. It may be able to survive in frosty conditions, but the plant will appear quite bare for the winter since its foliage falls off, and does not usually grow back until the weather heats up again.

Like many perennial plants, the Mexican bird of paradise can be allowed to grow freely without pruning, which makes it attractive as one of many tropical plants to include in a beginner's garden. Many homeowners also like to keep it as a tree, in which case several can be planted at once to provide some shade and privacy. It is known for growing quite fast, and attracting both butterflies and bees when in bloom.

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