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halfwaythere1

Caesalpinia Pulcherrima (Pride of Barbados, Dwarf Poinciana)

Halfway There
9 years ago

After spending more money on gas than the plants, I finally found 3 of them. I need some advice. It seems the nursery removed most branches along the trunk an I'm going for a shrubbier look. Do you think it will sprout new branches from the bottom up? I'm guessing they were trying to train it into a tree, Or perhaps these are just scrawny and need attention. I'm open to hacking it back after it gets established. Do you think I need to, or will it bush out on it's own? I like the 5 ft height though. I'm trying to block the view of the road across the lake. I'm in zone 10B, south Florida and they are in full sun. One of them came with 4 seed pods so I'm going to try and grow a few from seed. Any advice on that is appreciated as well. Thanks so much!


Comments (18)

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    9 years ago

    Hi - here's some info from Floridata.com - also tips for seed starting:

    http://www.floridata.com/ref/C/caes_pul.cfm

  • garyfla_gw
    9 years ago

    Hi

    One of my favorite plants to "fiddle with lol. Seeds are very easy to start wait til the pod turns dark and the seeds come out easily. It will flower from seed in around 2/3 years even in a pot. Mostly want to grow into a "shrubby tree but can be pruned into almost any shape I grow mine in a large pot on the north side of my pond . I remove around 50 percent every year in spring late Feb } and it's back in flower again. In your case would cut down to around half will lose flowers but will become much bushier . Hummers and butterflies love them and as long as the weather is warm they will flower continuously. Best of all they love intense sunshine heat and humidity even tolerate drought when established . Maybe even better they won't grow into monsters as most of the relatives do?? Would wish you luck but you don't need any with this plant lol gary

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  • wisconsitom
    9 years ago

    Gary, if I'm not mistaken, this is the plant you pointed out to me when I was enthusing over Delonix regia a while back-for potential use as an annual up in this part of the world! Just read that link to Floridata, and sure enough, that possible usage is mentioned. I take lots of chances in that part of my occupation that deals with ornamental display gardens and planters. For an example, the Mexican flame vines I placed on the order for this spring are now in the contracting greenhouse, twining around sticks they placed in the pots to accommodate the growth. They are also already producing flowers. So, it looks like that gamble is going to pay off, albeit the poor grower may have to deal with the rambunctiousness of the growth. I always tell whoever gets our order-a large and very "custom" thing-I'd rather they cut things back as needed than provide us with overgrown, floppy things that are hard to deal with. This may be one such case.

    But I digress. This plant-Caesalpinia p.-may offer another opportunity for me to stick my neck out. Way out!

    +oM

  • Halfway There
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Hi Gary. Thanks so much for info. Do you think I can cut it back now or should I wait a few weeks. There are no leaves on the lower half of the trunk. I was the one who asked you to email me a few weeks ago. I haven't figured out how to contact someone privately here on GW. Can it be done? I wanted to know if you had CP seedlings or seeds that I could have because I was having so much trouble finding it. After a 10+ nursery search I did find it. Wisconsitom, did you see my old post re Mexican Flame Vine? It's a beast down here. I had to lop it off near the base and this is what it looks like now. It's a nice shrub now but you never know with this vine. The pot is tall and it's buried 2/3 in the ground. I should just leave the cutters next to the plant since it grows so fast. Here is the umbrella trellis project I did with the MFV. It's just too windy here for it. http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/2205893/umbrella-trellis-project-mexican-flame-vine?n=13


  • garyfla_gw
    9 years ago

    Half way there

    Since you just recently planted them I'd just remove the dead branches and

    give it some time. They love warm weather and as you get good growth you can start forming it I note some seed pods in your pic . Wait until they brown and the pods open easily Start the seeds in a pot to retain moisture . Mine has no flowers or pods at the moment as I just removed half the tree in Feb.

    IME the normal growth pattern is tall and leggy flowers are produced on new growth Perhaps an underplanting maybe marigolds ,pentas at least for this summer ??

    Ah MFV it is a beast lol. If you have the room they are gorgeous if not they give you lots of excercise lol I think keeping it in shrub form would be very difficult. if not futile?? Plant somewhere it can vine but keep in mind it will still needa LOT of pruning but it does flower it's heart out.!!

    Wiscon i suspect the Dwarf would make a poor house plant. It does very well in a pot BUT requires a lot of light . I don't think they'd mature in one season enough to flower and they are very cold sensitive ?? Good luck

    gary

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks all. Yes, I did see that nice trellis project with the MFV, halfway. Very nice. Please note, I'm a municipal horticulturist up here in WI, in a medium-sized city. Any topics I bring up regarding such items as MFV, or this idea of using the Caesalpinia, relate to my desire to use unusual (For this area) tropical/subtropical items as outdoor plants-as annuals essentially-in our display beds. Not looking to grow any of this stuff indoors. As for the MFV, I have seen it in Fort Myers easily covering large sections of chainlink fence, etc. So I know it's got the vigor. Mine will be used for the summer and then discarded, along with all the other frozen annuals, etc. but will have, it is hoped, created a visually stunning and surprising display in our beds and planters. A few years ago, I used variegated tapioca as center plants in large planters. That too was a success, and of course, anyone not interested in horticulture would not typically know what that thing was! That's what I like to do-surprise and delight the onlooker with unexpected plantings, right along with the more usual petunias, impatiens, etc.

    Always appreciate the info on this forum.

    +oM

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    So, in apologizing for dredging up this old thread, let me say, the MFVs are indeed putting on quite the show. Not sure exactly how to deadhead, or indeed if it's even worth doing. Anybody know-will they go on flowering without deadheading? FWIW, the spent flower heads are not the most beautiful things around, resembling dandelion seed heads just a little too closely! But great plants all in all.

    So back to Caesalpinia pulcherrima: From seed, in a warm greenhouse now, how long do you folks suppose it might take to get a blooming plant? I know-how the heck would a bunch of folks living where this plant is outdoors-hardy even know such an obscure thing?!? But it can't hurt to ask. I'm seriously thinking about putting a few on the list for next year's plantings. Meanwhile, my popcorn cassia has done simply amazingly well. So, I've got an enormous tree stump-cut waist-high-in my backyard which I partially hollowed out for use a s a large planter. Into this went 3 cassias closely spaced. These had started life in 4.5 inch pots. Then, three of a new petunia variety and three Setcreasea 'Purple Heart' still another Florida-common plant. Let me tell you, the effect is simply stunning!

    So, I'd like to do something similar with the Caesalpinias if at all possible. Remember, these are not houseplants in my conception, but rather, summer "annuals" in terms of how they are or would be used. Any additional commentary is most welcome.

    +oM

  • Halfway There
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Please post pics! It sounds lovely. I'm a big fan of natural planters. I have a rotting 30 ft ponytail palm that I have evil plans for lol.


    MFV... I have never deadheaded. Seriously never. The ragged blooms don't last long in the vine FWIW..... a week tops. Are you up north now? If so, I understand your wanting to keep the vine looking pretty due to shortened growing season. I have no advice though as it blooms year round here so I never bother to deadhead, sorry! I will say that they 100% will go on flowering without deadheading. One reason I never deadheaded was because I was afraid it might branch at the cut. This beast grows fast enough, thank you. It would be a rat's nest in no time if every vine doubled, so to speak. Interestingly though, I've read that it reseeds like mad and even tendrils that make contact with the ground will root. I have not found that to be the case at all. I have it in a large pot and its flopped over and shrub-like and behaving well.

    CP....wow, looking back at these pics I can't believe the difference in my CP. I was in the yard just today thinking jeez these plants are still so spindly and bare, but looking at the old photos, they really have come a long way. I'll post pics tomorrow. I'm in awe though of those wide and full shrubby versions loaded with blooms and am wondering if the way to achieve that is by hacking it down in the spring. I'd hate to do that because i love the height. I am just ahead of you time-wise in growing from seed. They were potted on July 1st and are about a foot tall with no sign of blooms. I'll let you know when they do. They are outdoors, not in a greenhouse. Mine will be put in the ground once they grow another foot or so. Is your hope that they will bloom before winter?

  • Tom zone 9b Florida
    8 years ago

    Yes, Tom, they will rebloom without deadheading. Mine bloom all summer. Still, I believe it pretty much always makes sense to deadhead if you want more blooms. As I recall the seeds will sprout easily and quickly if you keep them warm and moist.

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    Thanks much, halfway and Tom B. So, the reason why you don't see photos posted here by me is that I'm one of the leading dorks of the world. I don't know exactly what my problem is, but I just don't ever want to slow down enough to take photos, post them here and everywhere else, etc. Weird, I know!

    The Caesalpinia is still just a dream for me, Halfway. I'm wondering if it would perform more or less similarly to the popcorn cassia, being from the same (huge) plant family and all. I talk to the folks at Top Tropicals all the time about my mad schemes too. I should be hearing back from them too today. In any case, this is all about next year.....next growing season, that is, here in WI.
    For whatever reason, ornamental horticulture is a very trend-driven thing. I'm actually ok with that, and usual am riding the trends anyway, but this query represents my efforts to be outside of all that, doing and showcasing things that literally nobody else is doing! And so it is.

    The flame vine info is most helpful. My crew persons sure don't want to deadhead those vines! Sure, they may have to anyway. It's on their list of many things! But the advice I've received from you guys is priceless. Thanks a lot. It seems like the vine pushes waves of blossoms. For example, even before we planted our stuff-in the greenhouse-they were full of blooms. Then, after being placed out into the early-summer coolness of WI, they went into straight vegetative growth. About a month ago, they just exploded in blossoms and are now seemingly going into a resting or vegetative stage again. Truth be told, I'm evaluating them this season. It was a cinch to get them, due to the excellent contacts of the grower who supplied our stuff this year, so that's not an issue. It's always about, is this or that plant "good enough" for our relatively short season. I don't waste my time with something that's any less than excellent, or try not to anyway.

    Thanks again, and Halfway, I look forward to further reports!

    +oM

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    Did inquire of Top Tropicals the other day about this idea. I stressed to them that one of the key factors which makes popcorn cassia so usable in this fashion is its ability to begin flowering at a very early stage. So, in their reply today, it seems this idea may have similar merit. This is fun!

    +oM

  • Halfway There
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    CP 4 months growth.

  • Halfway There
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I would love to plant popcorn cassia but I've read that it can be invasive here in S Fla. Every where I look around here it's in tree form though, 12+ feet and I don't have the room for more trees. I need more CP for privacy so I might throw a few yellow and pink in there to break up a whole row of orange. I can't find any nurseries that carry it. If anyone has some yellow or pink Pride of Barbados, (caesalpinia pulcherrima) I'd much appreciate it!

  • fawnridge (Ricky)
    8 years ago

    Tangerine - yellow / orange cross. From seed collected in Negril, Jamaica.

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    One thing which still gives me pause in my idea-to the extent I've succeeded in making that idea clear to you folks-is that nobody else is doing what I propose. So, for instance, I only became aware of the popcorn cassia a couple summers back, as a local garden center had it on their rack. But I've never seen C. p. up here in any way, shape or form. Not that I'm afraid to try things out on my own: Witness my words regarding using Mexican flame vine up here in the summer, or my use of several Buddleia cultivars as high-end center plants in those same largish containers (31 inch square). Nobody else is doing that either, lol! So it's not as if I'm some timid gardener just looking at what everyone else is doing, then copying. But this would be quite a large step-trying something flat-out unknown in the area. Still........the idea intrigues me to no end. Imagine alternating planters of the cassia and then of the Caesalpinia-probably not the yellow one-as I'd be looking to contrast the two color schemes. This is to say nothing of the companion elements which would accompany these tropical delights. Through my own home trials, I know the popcorn cassia to be a solid, summer-long performer. I'd hate to spend too much $$ on a completely unknown entity and have it be lackluster. BTW, the gal at Top Tropicals seconded my thought that C. p. gets up and gets blooming very early in life-just like the cassia. I read here and elsewhere of others having difficulty getting flowering to happen, but to go back to the example of the cassia, those things were budding out before they left the greenhouse in late May! That's what I'm talking about!

    +oM

  • Halfway There
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    That popcorn cassia is the ticket then. I'm not so sure about the C.p. though. I think a few years down the line it might be! Everything I've read says that hacking it back before growing season will make it spread and bloom profusely. I can't wait until mine spread out. It doesn't look like it will happen this year though. But we have time and patience, right? :)

  • wisconsitom
    8 years ago

    We do indeed, halfway! Without it, we'd be lost!

    +oM