Royal Poinciana Tree

Delonix regia

Majestic size and fabulous color make the royal poinciana tree a classic symbol of living in South Florida.

royal poinciana tree branch covered with red flowers

'Regia' means regal, royal or magnificent - all perfect descriptive terms for the poinciana.

This lovely tree is decorated in summer with rich orange-red flowers on its umbrella-shaped crown of fine-textured leaves.

With its wide-reaching canopy, this tree is way too big for smaller properties and can overwhelm even a medium-sized yard.

It's best planted in a large expanse of lawn with no garden bed beneath, since the poinciana's root system is superficial rather than deep. This means it will compete with (and win out over) nearby plants for water and nutrients.

mature tree in bloom

Plant specs

Poincianas are fast-growing trees, reaching heights of 40 to 50 feet. It can grow even wider than its height, so plan accordingly when you choose a place to plant.

Tropical in nature, these red-flowering trees do best in Zone 10, beginning to flower at age 4 or 5.

young tree starting to bloom

They are deciduous (though thankfully our winters are short), and produce seed pods which won't become a nuisance since seeds take years to germinate.

Plant in a well-drained area in full sun for ideal fullness and flowering.

The showy poinciana flowers appear in late spring through mid-summer.

Plant care

Add top soil or organic peat moss to the hole when you plant. You may also want to add in composted cow manure for soil enrichment.

No trimming is necessary unless you need to remove low hanging branches.

Water on a regular basis with time to dry out between waterings. Fertilize in spring, summer and autumn with a good quality granular fertilizer.

flower detail

Plant spacing

Plant at least 20 feet (more would be even better) from the house to accommodate the broad-spreading canopy of this tree.

Come in at least 12 to 15 feet from drives and walks so buttressed roots don't eventually become a problem.

If you plant several in a row, place them 12 to 15 feet (or more) apart.

These trees will grow in a pot while they're young but much prefer getting established n the ground.

Landscape uses for royal poinciana tree

  • single specimen tree
  • shade tree
  • along a large driveway

A.K.A. (also known as): Flamboyant Tree, Flame Tree


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Rather than planting beneath the tree, consider using shrubs and plants in the yard that will set off the royal poinciana's brilliant red flowers: croton, firecracker plant, hibiscus, Super King ixora, jatropha, thryallis and gold mound.

Other trees you might like: Peltophorum (Yellow Poinciana), Jacaranda

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