Coral Bean

Coral bean is a native plant that can add interest to the landscape from spring until fall.

Red tubular flowers grow on tall stalks in the spring, drawing hummingbirds and butterflies. In the fall, as the rest of the summer garden starts to fade, coral bean's seed pods begin to mature and the show begins. What once looked a bit like English pea pods turn dark, almost black, and split open to reveal shiny, scarlet red seeds nestled inside. They're very pretty—and very poisonous, so be sure to keep them away from kids and pets.

In North and Central Florida coral bean grows as a large perennial, reaching 6 feet tall before it freezes to the ground in winter. In South Florida it grows as a large deciduous shrub or small tree.

This Florida-Friendly plant is a great choice for the back of a mixed borders. While coral bean is a very attractive plant when in flower, it can appear somewhat sparse and ragged the rest of the year.

Coral bean plant in flowerExcellent for a natural landscape, it grows in a wide range of soil, but does best in fertile, well-drained, sandy soil. It flowers best in full sun or light shade. Water it well when planting, but once established, coral bean actually does better with infrequent irrigation. It's very salt-tolerant, so it's a good choice for coastal landscapes as well.


UF/IFAS Publications

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