The yellow bird of paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) is a tropical shrub native to Argentina. It has fern-like leaves and banana-yellow flowers with long, red stamens. The yellow bird of paradise grows from 5 to 10 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet in diameter when planted outdoors. It most often is grown as a houseplant because of its inability to tolerate cold temperatures. It does best in full sun or light shade and is easily propagated from cuttings taken during late fall or early spring.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Fill a 6- to 8-inch container three-fourths of the way with equal parts perlite and peat moss.
Clip off a healthy 3-inch piece of the plant’s stem. Strip the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting and dip the base into rooting hormone. Shake the cutting gently to remove any excess.
Place the cutting deep enough into the growing mixture to cover the bottom leaf node. Tamp down with your fingers and add just enough water to moisten well.
Arrange three or four 5-inch stakes around the cuttings. Place a clear plastic bag over the container, resting the bag on the stakes and not on the cuttings.
Pull one of the cuttings up after three weeks. If the new root system is at least 1-inch long, it is time to transplant. If the roots are not large enough, leave the cuttings in place and examine them again in two weeks.
Plant the cuttings in their permanent growing containers at the same level that they were previously growing. Add enough moisture to dampen the soil well. Continue to water anytime the top half-inch of soil feels dry.
Do not over-water the cuttings because the developing roots will rot if they remain too moist.
The seeds and seed pods of this plant are very toxic.