“Fireman’s Cap” Coral Bean (Erythrina x bidwillii)
This is one of those plants that literally stopped me in traffic the first time I saw it. Many years ago I was driving down Bee Cave’s Rd here in Austin, Texas and just as I was passing by Barton Springs Nursery I did my usual “sneak a peek”. As I drove I noticed an enormous plant with humongous red flower spikes. Now, I swear I am usually a decent driver, but I nearly crashed my car spinning into the parking lot to see what the heck this plant was.
Fireman’s Cap is a deer resistant, drought tolerant, deciduous perennial. It is a super fast grower once established and is an amazing specimen in the Xeriscape garden. With 2 ft long blood-red flower spikes and long tubular petals, it is also a huge hummingbird attraction. I cannot tell you the compliments I have gotten on this plant and how few people have ever seen one. It is striking in every way as it has really awesome bright green spaded leaves. Additionally, with each passing season the trunk becomes gnarled and twisted which becomes yet another interesting feature of this plant.
When using the color red be sure to balance the color with complimentary tones in various places so it doesn’t take over the rest of the landscape. Opposing colors always create drama and in this case, it is green which is pretty easy to find. That being said, spread the red throughout the space so that this plant is an attention hog. Plants like tropical Sage, Furmans Red Salvia Greggi and Texas Betony are great choices for balance.
One of my favorite plants to use in full sun gardens for obvious reasons. It’s a perfect perennial plant for hardiness zones 8-11 and reaches to 8 x 10’ in Austin and as large as a tree in the southern, coastal region.
Obviously, I am a huge fan of this plant, but if you are not convinced yet, or would just like to see it in action, check out my awesome video display!
Now go get your garden on!
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- Posted in: Central Texas Gardens ♦ Eco Friendly ♦ Education ♦ Gardening ♦ Landscape and Design ♦ Native and Adapted Plants ♦ Native Plants ♦ Perennial plants ♦ Water Wise ♦ Xeriscape ♦ Xeriscape design austin
- Tagged: Central Austin, Drought tolerant landscape, Erythrina x bidwillii, flowering perennials for Austin Texas, landscape designer austin, low water perennials, red flowers, sun plants austin, Xeriscape designer austin, Xeriscape plants austin