Bird of Paradise Shrub - Erythrostemon gilliesii formerly Caesalpinia gilliesii
10 open pollinated seeds from our gardens for $4.00.
This shrub is not related to the Strelitzia, but is part of the legume family. It has fine ferny like foliage and grows from 1.8m – 2.4m by about 1.2m – 1.8m wide. It is drought tolerant and will grow to the bigger size if given plenty of water. It will handle full to part sun and is partially evergreen in cool areas to fully dormant in cold districts where frost is common. Flowering is from Mid-Spring to Mid-Summer or longer, depending on weather conditions. Flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. This plant grows in most soils except heavy soils like clay.
Give a light prune to maintain the shape after flowering has finished, a light pruning can be done in early Spring to remove any damaged wood from frosts. Hard pruning will make it sulk and it will take a while for it to come back. This is a airy type shrub, so be aware of this when planting out.
Seeds are sown early Spring into seed raising tubes or straight into the ground. The seeds need to be soaked in warm water for 12-24 hours prior to sowing. Water the potting mix or soil before sowing and keep it moist till the seedlings emerge. Once they develop their true leaves, they can be transplanted from their pots. When seedlings have gained about 10-15cm in height, allow the soil to slightly dry out between watering. A good water every two weeks in the flowering season is recommended.