Beautiful Pride of Barbados

Pride of Barbados One of the most beautiful, colorful, and most reliable plants in my garden comes from one of my most favorite (and most beautiful) places on earth — Barbados.  This plant is the National Flower of Barbados and is called “Pride of Barbados” (Caesalpinia Pulcherrim) — and for good reason.

Pride of Barbados The name “Pulcherrim” actually means “very pretty”.  Oh, yes it is. The colors of this beautiful plant are remarkable — the blossoms consists of a combination of reds, yellows, and oranges, and the leaves are some of the coolest I’ve ever seen.  The Pride of Barbados is a hardy perennial in hotter climates but can can pretty much be grown in most places in the U.S, although they may need more winter care.  It is a member of the pea family (who knew??).  It has a hardiness of 18 degrees F, and is a constant bloomer in the summer.   At least it is in my garden.  The plant may die back in colder weather but will most likely come back from the ground.  However, if you live in further north, you will probably want to keep the plant in a pot so that it can be overwintered by bringing it inside.  It is always a Pride of Barbados Leaves good idea to keep the roots well mulched in the winter, regardless.  The plant is also called the “Mexican Bird of Paradise” or the “Dwarf Poinciana” (NOT “Royal Poinciana”). Dwarf Poinciana will grow in Houston heat, the Royal Poinciana will not.

Pride of Barbados Flower Buds

Pride of Barbados Flower Buds

Growth and Propagation:

I grow my Pride of Barbados both in pots and in the ground.  They do very well either way.  They are somewhat drought resistant, so if I can’t make it out to water every day in the three-digit summer weather here in Houston, they still do me well.  Their oval-shaped leaves may turn yellow and fall off, but they will rejuvenate once they get a good drink of agua.  The plant can reach up to 15 feet or more in the ground in a hot climate, but it can also be cut back and maintained at a shorter height, if you would rather.  Those in my pots are much smaller than those in the ground.  The plant does need to have well-drained soil, so as not to rot the roots.  They LOVE the sun, but I also have some partially in the shade and they do very well.

Pride of Barbados Seed Pod

Pride of Barbados Seed Pod

The plant is easily propagated from the ripe seed pods, and you may want to nick them with a knife or soak them before planting.  They do not need a deep soil to get started. (see

Pride of Barbados is an excellent flower for the butterfly garden.  Hummingbirds also love them.  However, I could be wrong, but I think I love them more.


Reference articles: 

Texas A&M Article:

Randy Lemmon website: website:

Pride of Barbados



Beautiful Pride of Barbados — 10 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for your advice and comments. I have a new Pride of Barbados….it
    s just 6 months old. i live in north FL and planted the seeds in the fall, in a pot. They came up really strong, but now, over the winter, aa mild as it was, they’re beginnng to yellow a bit, well one is. I understand about over watering and the weather has not been really hot yet.
    Anyway, I”ll keep in mind what you’ve said and I thank you again.
    Joe T

    • Joe, how has your Pride Of Barbados fared? Has it survived? It will turn yellow if overwatered, or even underwatered, but comes back fairly quickly…

    • Hi, Berdie! The Pride of Barbados is actually drought tolerant, so after being established you don’t want to overwater. You will know you are overwatering it if the leaves turn yellow and start to fall off. If that happens, just back off on the watering it they should come back nicely.

    • Jeff, I apologize for just seeing this! I’ve had plants survive outside during frosts and freezes in the Houston area. The plant can stand temperatures to 18 degrees F. The plant will die back and come back from the roots. However, if you don’t want it to die back, you may want to bring the potted plant into the garage during freezes.

      I know this is a late answer, and you have already withstood winter, and I hope your plant is still going strong!

    • Hi again, RC! The Pride of Barbados is quite hardy. It should be cold hardy to 18 degrees F. Here is an additional article that might help! Thanks so much for writing! TK

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