Pride of Barbados

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, more often known as Pride of Barbados (sometimes referred to as Bird of Paradise, although this common name belongs to another plant), is a favorite medium to large, tropical shrub for Texas landscapes.  You can expect this fast-growing plant to reach 4 to 8 feet tall and around 6 feet wide. It can grow in tree form in the tropics, reaching up to 20 feet tall. Caesalpinia pulcherrima can be treated as a perennial in zones 8 to 11 or throughout central and south Texas and needs sun to partial shade in order to bloom correctly. Pride of Barbados has fiery flowers starting in a rich red color at the base and turning bright yellow at the ruffled tips with long, showy red stamens. The flowers bloom from mid-summer to fall and can provide a welcome sight in the hottest days of Texas summers when many other plants look worn out. The foliage is most often deciduous and is a blue green color, contrasting nicely with the yellows and reds of the blooms.

Originally from Mexico and the Caribbean, this plant can provide that colorful, tropical look that many people long for. It does need hot weather to bloom, but if it freezes to the ground in a colder area it will regrow in the spring quite quickly. The flowers are followed by bean-looking pods of seeds that can be several inches long and contain acids that are poisonous, so be careful when using this plant in areas with kids and pets. Another aspect to be aware of is the spiny stems of the Pride of Barbados, and they should not be planted near patios and walkways. It can tolerate drought to an extent, but will bloom much better if watered deep but infrequently during the growing period. Pride of Barbados does self-sow its seeds so be sure to deadhead this plant if you wish to prevent volunteer seedlings from appearing the next season.

Other Cultivars:

Caesalpinia pulcherrima ‘Phoenix’ is a Pride of Barbados variation with solid bright yellow flowers and only hardy in zones 9b to 10a (Corpus Christi and along the gulf).

© HDG Landscape Design, 2020


Echinacea spp. also known as Coneflowers, are a popular and colorful perennial accent for landscapes, gardens, and as cut flowers ranging in height from 24 inches to 4 to 6 feet. Hardy from zone 2 to 10 depending on the variety, they require full sun to partial shade, average watering, and come in a variety of colors. Echinacea spp. bloom in mid-summer to mid-fall and attract bees, butterflies, and birds as well as being unattractive to deer. The most common coneflower for Texas landscapes is the Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) which is characterized by a medium purple flower with petals that hang down from the seed head.

In the landscape, you may Coneflowers or similar plants in naturalistic designs such as Texas native or English garden style, and in containers. Coneflowers are some of my personal favorite for their simple blooms and natural look in the landscape. They pair well with Artemisia, Rosemary, boulders, Salvia, and grasses.


Other Varieties:

Pixie Meadowbrite Coneflower (Echinacea ‘CBG Cone 2’) has a vibrant pink flower with an orange center with petals that hold themselves horizontally. It can be 8-20 inches tall and 2 feet wide with more than 20 flowers on a single plant, and is hardy throughout Texas in zones 4-9.

Echinacea ‘Julia’ is a compact cultivar of Echinacea with bright orange flowers that grow 15-18 inches tall. It is hardy in Texas (zones 6-9) and needs full sun. It is a lovely alternative to the common purples and pinks normally seen in coneflowers.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Double Scoop Cranberry’ is another interesting coneflower that differs in appearance from the standard. It has a pompom like flower with slender petals falling downwards from a double blooming center. It is bright and vibrant in the garden and makes for an excellent cut flower for arrangements and bouquets. It is hardy in all of Texas (zones 4 to 9).

Echinacea hybrida ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ is a variety of coneflower featuring a mixture of colors from yellow to red to purple in a massed planting. It provides a colorful and natural look to any landscape and looks great as a potted plant. It is hardy from zone 4 to 10 and can be grown in most of the continental US.

More Varieties: ‘Magnus’, ‘Razzmatazz’, ‘Merlot’,  ‘Cleopatra’, ‘Passion Fruit’, ‘Butterfly Kisses’,  ‘Evening Glow’ , and ‘Supreme Cantaloupe’

Similar to Echinacea: Coreopsis, Ratibida columnifera or Mexican Hat, Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susan, wildflower Indian Blanket


© HDG Landscape Design, 2020