There are two varieties of Bird of Paradise commonly grown in the desert Southwest, the Desert or Yellow Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii and the Red Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima.
Both are deciduous and do very well in our desert climate, but the Desert variety tends to do better since it is more drought and heat tolerant and the Red variety will usually freeze to the ground in the winter, coming back from the roots in the spring.
Water requirements are low and bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to both varieties.
The Desert Bird of Paradise can get 6 to 8 feet high and flowers from mid spring through early fall. Blooms are bright yellow with orange/red stamens. Requires full sun.
The Red Bird of Paradise, Dwarf Poinciana, Peacock Flower or Pride of Barbados can get 4 to 8 feet high and blooms from late summer to early fall. Does best in full sun.
Seeds of both varieties are poisonous if ingested.