I have a Barbados Pride that is getting really big and I would like to move it to give it more space. Is now a good time?

Barbados pride (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) is essentially tropical so transplanting it in summer, no later than late September, is indeed the best time. Prior preparation is ideal; shear back your plant to a manageable moving size (but by no more than half) and root prune at least a month prior to the move; using your shovel blade for depth, cut a ring into the ground a few feet from the base of the trunk. This gives the plant time to develop a more compact root system before moving day. If you can’t root prune in advance try to save as much of the root system as possible and sculpt your new planting area accordingly – you may need small trenches going beyond your main hole to accommodate long roots - never wrap long roots in a circle around a plant as they can strangle it as they grow.

For a few days before the move, water the plant deeply to hydrate it. Move the plant in early morning when it is relatively cool (for us that means steamy vs. sweltering). Although this plant does not regularly like a lot of water, you should keep it moist for the first few weeks after transplanting to get it reestablished. A bit of fertilizer should be worked into the soil during planting to give it an extra boost. If there are no unforeseen complications, your plant should start to flush out soon.

For those who want to add a Barbados pride to their landscape, keep in mind that in our climate they can grow at least 10 feet tall and wide if not pruned or cut back by hard freezes.

Darrin Duling is the director of Mercer Botanic Gardens in Humble. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..