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Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a fast growing small shrub, which can be pruned in to a small tree. Once established, this pretty little plant requires very little care. It is evergreen, drought tolerant, and blooms all year, with several heavy blooms during the year. It has been reported as far north as Zone 8, but is killed to the ground with frost, returning the following spring. In tropical areas, it will reach over 10 feet in height, with a spread of 6 to 8 feet. It does have thorns however, so keep it away from people passing by.
The Dwarf Poincianna gets its name from the shape of the flowers, which are the same shape as the Royal Poincianna (Delonix regia). They are round, 2 to 3 inches across, with 5 crinkled, unequal petals. Each flower has 10 prominant stamens that extend beyond the corolla. The flowers are born on terminal clusters 8 to 10 inches tall throughout most of the year. In colder climates they bloom in late summer through early fall. There are varieties in the color of the flowers. At one extreme is the more common orange - red petals with bright red stamens. The other, rarer variety displays flowers which are solid, bright yellow, with long yellow stamens.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima is native to South America and the West Indies. It is used widely throughout the world, and has escaped cultivation and become established in many tropical areas.
This plant is very easy to grow in soils ranging from akaline to acidic, and is moderately salt tolerant. It can be pruned easily to maintain its shape, and can even be shaped in to a tree form. It adapts to either full sun or shade, although it flowers best in full sun. Once established, this plant requires very little water.
The flowers on the Dwarf Poincianna, whether the orange-red variety, or the solid yellow variety, are extemely striking. Use this plant as a stand alone speciman, or as part of a border. It also works well as a screen for privacy, or to block out an eyesoar.