Our temperatures are soaring and with the heat and dry weather, we wanted to take a minute to highlight a few plants that thrive in the Texas Hill Country summer.
Known for their beautiful blooms and extreme tolerance of high temperatures, Caesalpenias come in a variety of different species. We have three species available at Mosty Brothers Nursery.
Pride of Barbados
Pride of Barbados is the most common Caesalpinia and can be found throughout Central and South Texas in many natively planted landscapes. The Pride of Barbados has a very showy bloom with a vibrant mixture of bright yellow and bright orange blooms with long red stamens shooting out from the center of the bloom. This species can grow up to 5’ wide x 5’ tall in the Hill Country and it is extremely drought tolerant. It will bloom best in hot, direct sun. When the plant goes dormant in the winter, simply cut it back to just above the ground, and it will come back in spring and grow rapidly when the heat arrives. When planted in the right place, your Pride of Barbados will be covered in blooms beginning mid summer to the fall. The Pride of Barbados was added to the Texas Superstar list in 2008. To read more detail about why it made the list, click here.
Yellow Bird of Paradise
Our second species of Caesalpinia is the Yellow Bird of Paradise. The leaves of this plant are smaller and finer in size, and it tends to grow more upright instead of shrubby. We recommend pruning this species to encourage fuller growth. Like the Pride of Barbados, the Yellow Bird of Paradise also has an outstanding and showy bloom. The bloom is yellow with extremely long pink/red stamens shooting out from the center of the bloom. We don’t see this Caesalpinia as often, but it is an extremely interesting plant that thrives in hot sun. The Yellow Bird of Paradise is the most cold-hardy variety available.
Mexican Bird of Paradise
The Mexican Bird of Paradise is a Texas native. The bloom of this species is a spectacular solid yellow. Clusters of flowers can be seen from late summer to mid-fall. It will generally grow to 4' wide x 4' tall in the Hill Country, but can get much larger and tree-like farther south to San Antonio. The Mexican Bird of Paradise is hardy to 15 degrees Farenheit and when temperatures reach below this, the plant should be cut back to the ground and it will come back in the spring. Like the Caesalpinias listed above, it also thrives in extreme heat.
The next plants that love the Texas heat are our Tecomas. We offer two species here at the nursery.
Esperanza, Yellow Bells
Esperanzas, or Yellow Bells, are a Texas native planted often, and familiar to everyone. However, we wanted to include this plant in our newsletter to stress the extreme tolerance to heat this plant will endure. During our hot summer months, Experanza blooms constantly and even continues to bloom into the fall. Esperanzas strive in hot sun and good drainage. Yellow Bells have also made the list of Texas Super Stars as recommended by Texas A&M Agrilife. They will reach approximately 5' tall in the Hill Country, and should be pruned back in the winter.
The Tecoma Alata, or Orange Jubilee, is a great landscaper choice as it grows rapidly and loves the heat. Orange Jubilee grows faster and a bit more upright than Yellow Bells. The flowers start out a brilliant, bright orange in early spring and fade to light orange/yellow through the fall. It is a long and consistent bloomer. These will grow roughly 2' taller than the Yellow Bells by the end of the summer and in milder winters, will not require much pruning.