Once the heat of our San Antonio summer pops open the vibrant orange, red, and yellow blooms of the Pride of Barbados plant, you’d think we don’t carry any other plant at the nursery. Multiple times a day customers come in describing the most beautiful plant they’ve just seen and have to have. As they describe the flaming red and orange flowers, and feathery foliage, we lead them to our selection of Pride of Barbados. We are 99.9% correct in identifying their desired plant. When it’s summertime in San Antonio, Pride of Barbados takes center stage.
The stunning beauty alone is enough to understand why any San Antonio gardener would desire a Pride of Barbados in their landscape. However, its low-maintenance, drought-tolerant (once established), pollinator-attracting qualities push Pride of Barbados to the upper section on our list of favorite hot weather plants for San Antonio.
Pride of Barbados is a semi-evergreen perennial here in San Antonio zone 8b. It may lose leaves in 40° or lower temps, or freeze to the ground in winter, but it will return in late spring to begin new growth. Sometimes it takes a little longer ti get growing, but have faith, it should sprout back up. Pride of Barbados grows rapidly to reach a mature height of about 5′ – 8′ tall, 4′ – 5′ wide by late summer. Even if Pride of Barbados does not freeze to the ground, it’s best to cut it down to the ground in late winter to achieve a fuller, bushier growth the following spring.
While Pride of Barbados is a low-maintenance plant, it does have a few requirements for growing success: sunshine, no over watering, well-draining soil, and heat.
- In order to get those dazzling, fiery blooms, plenty of sunshine needs to be provided. Planting Pride of Barbados in full sun is best. Part shade is tolerated in the late afternoon, but blooms are best in full on sun.
- A drought-tolerant plant does not survive with wet feet (roots). This means that the soil you plant Pride of Barbados in should drain well and not have standing water after irrigating or rainfall. Root rot will develop if water stands too long and plant death could occur.
- Drought tolerance occurs once plant’s roots have sufficient time to develop and get established. Until then, you should water your Pride of Barbados one to two times a week and take in consideration any rainfall or lack of rainfall. Once the plant is established, it will be able to bloom and survive with very little supplemental water. However, extended or prolonged periods of drought may require a couple of additional waterings.
- Pride of Barbados won’t start blooming until the heat really sets in. Customers coming to purchase the plants in early spring will be disappointed. We don’t generally get these plants from our growers until May at Rainbow Gardens. Once the heat is constant, these shrubs take off.
We love our pollinators in San Antonio and lucky for us, our butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees love Pride of Barbados. The bold, bright colors of this plant’s blooms lure in the pollinators with the promise of nectar. A true Texas Superstar Plant, Pride of Barbados looks amazing in San Antonio landscapes or containers. This gorgeous specimen offers blooms for the pollinators during summer when many of of our other perennials shut down from the heat.
We believe you will be thrilled with a Pride of Barbados. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have the landscape that someone drives by, sees your Pride of Barbados in bloom and thinks, “I have to have that plant now!”
~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy