Monday, July 27, 2015

Esperanza: Hope for the summer garden

Tecoma stans, or Esperanza, has been designated as a Texas Super Star plant, meaning that it can take just about anything Mother Nature in Texas throws at it and keep on ticking, keep on performing its role as a mainstay of our summer gardens. The most common variety that one sees is the yellow form, popularly known as "Yellow Bells." I have a couple of those plants in my garden but both got pruned back severely in late spring and they haven't produced blooms yet. I also have two plants of the variety shown blooming here which is called "bronze." It has a touch of orange or rust in its bell-shaped blooms. Both varieties, the yellow and the bronze, are greatly loved by bees of all kinds. The flowers provide abundant nectar as a reward for their pollinators.

These plants generally grow 3 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide, although one of my yellow plants gets up to ten feet tall by the end of summer. In addition to lovely blossoms, the shrub also sports very attractive shiny green foliage which holds up well through the heat and drought of summer, seldom wilting even in the noonday sun. Their water requirements are low; they perform well whether or not it rains.

Esperanza is deciduous and my plants generally die back in the winter, so one shouldn't place them where winter interest is needed. They always return with a vengeance in the spring, ready to grow like Jack's beanstalk as soon as the ground warms up. They will bloom throughout the summer and fall. The flowers have a very faint but pleasing fragrance.

Esperanza is completely hardy only to zone 8b. Farther north it would need protection and could be grown in pots. In my zone 9a garden, it seems very contented.

 

This is one of my "Yellow Bells" from last year. It will be in bloom again later this summer, making all the local bees happy.

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Well, this one is pretty much bullet-proof here. Not so much where you live, I'm afraid, unless it is grown in a pot and brought in during winter.

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