Royal Poinciana: Growing and Care Guide

by Australian Flowers

If you’re wondering with this guide how to grow and care for your Royal Poinciana tree, also known as a Flame Tree, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will give you all the information you need to get started, including tips on planting, watering, fertilizing, and more.

So let’s go ahead and get started learning how to grow and care for your Royal Poinciana tree!

Royal Poinciana

Royal Poinciana

The tree is a stunningly beautiful tree that produces an explosion of colour in the summertime. The tree is also known as the Flame tree, and it is not difficult to see why the tree is covered in bright red or orange flowers that resemble flames.

The flame tree is now a common sight in many tropical and subtropical regions.


Flame trees are not too difficult to care for. They are drought tolerant and can survive in poor soils but prefer well-drained soil. They should be watered regularly during the first few years after planting. Once they are established, they will need little supplemental irrigation.


The flame trees need full sun to partial shade to thrive. If you live in an area with hot summers, planting your tree in a spot that gets some afternoon shade is best.

Sunlight is vital for these trees because it helps the tree grow and brings out the beautiful red and orange colours in the flowers.


The Flame Tree is not too picky regarding soil but prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH range (6.0 – 7.5). It grows best in well-drained soils that are high in organic matter. They are not drought-tolerant and will not survive in soggy conditions.


During its first season, then only during droughts or periods of extended heat. It will tolerate short periods of drought but does best with regular watering. A soaker hose is ideal for the tree’s extensive root system.


Use a slow-release fertilizer, apply in early spring and again in mid-summer. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and frequency.


Royal Poinciana

The flame tree will benefit from annual pruning to remove any dead or diseased branches and to encourage new growth. The best time to prune is late winter or early spring.

Temperature and Humidity

The tree is native to tropical regions of Africa, Madagascar and South America. In its natural habitat, the Flame Tree grows in hot, humid climates with temperatures that range from 18-30 degrees Celsius (64-86 degrees Fahrenheit). The tree can tolerate short periods of calm weather but will not survive a prolonged frost.


Overwintering the tree is not complex, but it does require some preparation. The trees are tropical trees and cannot withstand freezing temperatures for long periods. If you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, you must take measures to protect your tree.

How to Get Flame Tree to Bloom

To get the flame tree to bloom, you will need to stimulate the growth of new flowers. This can be done by pruning the tree in late winter or early spring. Cut back any dead or diseased branches and thin out the canopy to allow more light to reach the inner parts of the tree. Once the tree has flowered, you can remove any spent flower heads to encourage more blooming.

Common Problems

These trees are beautiful, striking trees that can add curb appeal to your home. However, they are not without their problems. Here are some of the most common issues trees face:

Pests and Diseases

They are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases. These include scale insects, caterpillars, mites, and fungal infections such as powdery mildew and anthracnose.

Drought Stress

Since these trees are native to tropical climates and require regular watering to thrive. Drought stress can cause leaves to turn yellow and drop off the tree.

Wind Damage

The trees have delicate branches that strong winds can easily damage. Heavy winds can also cause the tree to lose its leaves.

Frost Damage

Royal Poinciana trees are not tolerant of frost and can be severely damaged by even a light frost. Frost damage can cause the leaves to turn brown and drop off the tree. If you are having problems with your Royal Poinciana tree, it is best to consult a professional arborist or tree specialist. They can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action.

Types of Delonix

There are two Royal Poinciana trees, the Flame tree (Delonix Regia) and the Royal Poinciana (Delonix Elata). Beautiful flowering trees add colour and life to any garden or yard. The Flame tree is more widely known and grown than the Royal Poinciana.

Delonix Elata

Delonix Elata

The flame tree is a flowering plant given its name by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. It is also one of several trees known as Pride of Barbados. Flame trees are more heat tolerant and have a looser, more open growth habit.

Floribunda (Yellow Poinciana)

This was first discovered by French explorer Pierre Poivre in 1770 on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Royal poincianas tend to be cold and hardy and have a more compact habit. It has slightly larger leaves and flowers than flame trees.

Propagating Flame Trees

Royal Poinciana trees can be propagated from seed or cuttings. If you are propagation from seed, starting them indoors in late winter or early spring is best. Sow the seeds in a moist potting mix and place them in a warm location. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

  • Once the seedlings emerge, thin them out so that only the most vigorous seedlings remain. When the seedlings are big enough to handle, transplant them into individual pots.
  • If you are propagating Royal Poinciana trees from cuttings, take 4-6 inch cuttings from the tips of healthy branches in late spring or early summer. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone and plant them in a moist potting mix. Place the pots in a warm location and keep the soil wet but not soggy. Once the cuttings have been rooted, transplant them into individual pots.

Growing From Seeds

To plant:

  • Fill a seed tray or pot with a well-draining potting mix.
  • Sow the seeds on the surface of the mixture and press them gently into the mix.
  • Royal Poinciana seeds need light to germinate, so don’t cover them with potting mix.
  • Water the Royal Poinciana, seeds well and place the seed tray or pot in a warm, bright spot.
  • Keep the mix moist but not soggy. Royal Poinciana seeds usually germinate within two to four weeks.
  • Once the Royal Poinciana seedlings have grown their first true leaves, transplant them into individual pots filled with a well-draining potting mix.
  • Water the seedlings well and place them in a warm, bright spot.
  • Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  • Royal Poinciana seedlings can be transplanted into their permanent outdoor home after growing about 8 inches tall.

Growing in Pots

If you are growing Royal Poinciana in pots, you need to be extra careful about the type of potting mix you use. A good quality all-purpose potting mix or one made for cacti and succulents is ideal. The Royal Poinciana tree will not tolerate “soggy feet”, so ensure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom and that the potting mix is well-draining.

  • Watering Royal Poinciana trees in pots is essential to their health and vigour.
  • The soil needs to be kept moist but not soggy wet.
  • Allow the top inch or so of potting mix to dry out before watering again.
  • During the hottest months, you may need to water twice a week.
  • Fertilize Royal Poinciana trees growing in pots every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20 at half the recommended strength.

Interesting Facts:

Royal Poinciana is also known as the Flame Tree because its reddish-orange flowers bloom in clusters.

  •  It is a deciduous tree and is originally from Madagascar.
  •  It can grow up to 30 meters tall with a spread of 20 meters.
  • The tree is not a good shade tree because it has a dense canopy.
  • The trees bloom in late spring to early summer. Each flower cluster can have up to 60 individual flowers.
  • The tree blooms for about six weeks.
  • The best time to plant is spring.
  • The pods of the tree are large and flat, with a reddish-brown colour. They contain seeds that are poisonous if ingested. If you come across one of these pods, keep children and pets away from it.

Frequently Asked Questions about Flame Tree

How long does it take for a flame tree to mature?

Flame trees can take anywhere from 10 to 15 years to reach maturity. Once they do, they can grow anywhere from 25 to 50 feet tall and have a lifespan of around 100.

How long does it take for a poinciana tree to grow?

It can take a poinciana tree anywhere from 10-15 years to grow. However, they are very hardy trees and can withstand harsh conditions.

Do royal poinciana trees grow fast?

Yes, royal poinciana trees do grow fast. They can grow up to a foot per month during the growing season! This makes them a popular choice for landscaping in tropical and subtropical climates.
Royal poinciana trees (Delonix regia) are native to Madagascar and Southern Africa, but they are now grown worldwide in tropical and subtropical climates. These beautiful trees can grow anywhere from 30-60 feet tall, with a spread of 20-30 feet. They have showy red/orange flowers that bloom year-round, making them a popular landscape choice.
But what makes these trees stand out is their rapid growth.

Do flame trees have invasive roots?

Flame trees have invasive roots, but they are not considered a significant problem.
The roots of flame trees can grow quite deep, damaging buried pipes and other infrastructure. Additionally, the growth of these deep roots can choke out other plants near the tree. However, as long as the tree is planted in an open area with plenty of room for the roots to grow, it should not cause any problems.

Where do Flame Trees grow?

They can be found in the United States, Central America, South America, Africa, and Australia.
Flame trees are a type of flowering tree found in many different parts of the world. You can find places including the United States, Central America, South America, Africa, and Australia. Flame trees are known for their bright red flowers that often resemble flames, hence their name.

How often do flame trees flower?

Flame trees can flower year-round, but most flower in late winter or early spring.
The flowers are clusters of small, tubular flowers that are red, orange, or yellow. The flowers are very showy and attract a lot of attention.

Do flame trees lose their leaves in winter?

Flame trees lose their leaves in winter but will grow back again in spring.
The flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) is a deciduous tree that is common in Australia. It typically grows to a height of 20-25 metres, with a trunk diameter of up to 60 cm. The leaves are simple and alternate, green on the upper surface and purplish-red on the lower surface. They are 7-15 cm long and 2-5 cm wide. The flowers are in panicles 6-15 cm long and are red or purple. The fruit is a pod 5-10 cm long and 2-3 cm wide, which splits open.

Are royal poinciana trees messy?

They can be, but it depends on how you care for them.
Royal poinciana (or flamboyant trees) are beautiful ornamental trees that can grow up to 60 feet tall. They have long, feathery leaves and clusters of deep-red flowers that bloom throughout the year.
Although they are not particularly messy trees, they require regular pruning to keep them in check. They will grow tall and leggy, with many dead branches if left unpruned. They will also drop their leaves and flowers all over the ground below, making a big mess.

Are poinciana trees poisonous to dogs?

There is some debate on this topic, as the level of toxicity may vary depending on the variety of poinciana trees. However, most sources agree that all parts of the poinciana tree are poisonous to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. It’s essential to keep dogs away from these trees and to seek veterinary assistance if your pet has ingested any part of one.

Can royal poinciana survive winter?

Yes, but it will lose its leaves and look pretty sad.
Royal poinciana (Delonix regia), also known as striking, is a tropical tree that can survive winter temperatures down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit if it’s well-protected. In cold weather, you can keep your royal poinciana alive by wrapping it in burlap or heavy plastic and placing it in a protected spot such as a garage or greenhouse.

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