How to Plant Coral Bean


You may know this unique plant as Coral bean or Cherokee bean, but the scientific name is Erythrina herbacea. It is a member of the bean family, however, not edible because the seeds are toxic. The herbaceous stems are woody and normally grow to 3 feet. In tropical and sub-tropical areas where there is not frost, the stems can reach 16 feet in height. Coral bean is deciduous and blooms spectacular red clusters of bean like flowers that attract hummingbirds in the late spring. Coral bean is hardy in USDA planting zones 7b through 11.

Step 1

Choose a location that has partial sun and partial shade. Don't plant along walkways or areas where you may brush up against them as they are thorny. Plant in a high area of your landscape where water does not pool.

Step 2

Dig a hole 2 feet in diameter and 18 inches deep. Remove all weeds, grass and stones from the dug out soil. Scrape the edges and bottom of the hole with a pitchfork to loosen them up for root growth.

Step 3

Mix the clean soil with compost to create a 50/50 mixture. Fill the hole to a level where the plant will be sitting at the same level as it is in the container.

Step 4

Remove the plant from the container carefully and knock off some of the soil attached to the roots. Wear thick gardening gloves when working with Coral bean to avoid getting cut by the thorns. Place the Coral bean in the planting hole and gently spread the roots out a bit.

Step 5

Fill in around the root ball with the amended soil and tamp down tightly by stepping on the soil. Water the soil thoroughly to establish the roots.

Step 6

Water the plant every few days throughout the first spring and summer. Once the plant is established it should only need water during very hot and dry periods.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant Coral bean in your yard if you have small children and pets as the seeds are toxic.


  • Floridata: Erythrina herbacea
  • Spaces Aver Gardening: How to Plant Coral Bean
  • University of Florida: Erythrina herbacea
Keywords: growing cherokee bean, planting coral bean, Erythrina herbacea care

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.