Tecoma stans, commonly known as Yellow Bells or Yellow Elder, is a hardy, fast-growing shrub or small tree with vibrant, trumpet-shaped yellow flowers. This plant is popular in warm climates for its showy blooms and low-maintenance care requirements. Here's a description and care guide for Tecoma stans, specifically the tall variety:
Growth Habit: Tecoma stans can vary in size, depending on the specific variety and growing conditions. The tall variety typically grows as a large shrub to small tree, reaching heights of 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) or more. It has a dense, upright growth habit with numerous branches.
Leaves: The plant features pinnately compound leaves, consisting of multiple leaflets. The leaves are bright green and can provide an attractive backdrop for the yellow flowers.
Flowers: Tecoma stans is primarily known for its tubular, trumpet-shaped yellow flowers. These flowers can grow up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length and are borne in clusters at the ends of the branches. They are particularly showy and attract pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies.
Fruit: After flowering, Tecoma stans may produce slender, bean-like seed pods that contain numerous seeds. The pods are typically 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) long.
Plant Tecoma stans in a location with full sun. These plants thrive in bright, direct sunlight and require at least 6-8 hours of sun exposure daily.
Provide well-draining soil with good fertility. Tecoma stans is relatively tolerant of various soil types but prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.0-7.0).
Water young plants regularly to help establish a strong root system. Once established, they are moderately drought-tolerant. Water deeply when the soil is dry, but avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.
Feed Tecoma stans with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring when new growth begins. Additional feedings during the growing season can help promote blooming.
Prune the plant as needed to shape it, remove dead or damaged branches, and encourage new growth. The best time for major pruning is typically in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
Pest and Disease Management:
Tecoma stans is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, you should watch for aphids, scale insects, or whiteflies, and treat them as needed.
Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.
Young Tecoma stans may benefit from staking or support until they establish a strong and stable framework.
Tecoma stans, especially the tall variety, is a striking and low-maintenance plant, known for its bright yellow blooms and ability to attract pollinators. With proper care, it can enhance the beauty of your landscape, whether used as a shrub or small tree.