- Yellow Bells
- Yellow Bells
- Colorful Combinations
- Yellow Bells Care Must-Knows
- New Innovations
- More Varieties of Yellow Bells
- Planting Esperanza: Tips For How To Grow The Esperanza Plant
- Esperanza Growing Conditions
- Planting Esperanza
- Esperanza Care
- ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza
- Poisonous Plants . . . Perhaps
- More Plants
Add bright color to your garden with yellow bells, a large tropical shrub with dark green compound leaves and bright golden-yellow flowers. Native to many southern states and part of Central America, this plant is extremely heat- and drought-tolerant; in fact, it can stand up to the hottest summer weather. Yellow bells blooms from June until frost.
With its profuse number of large trumpet-shape blooms, yellow bells stands out in most gardens. Though not prized for the fragrance, the flowers (especially red) are a favorite of hummingbirds and pollinators like bees and butterflies. When not in bloom, the glossy green foliage makes a wonderful backdrop for other plants. As they age, the plants can develop an appealing gray-brown corky bark.
Add more colorful shrubs to your garden.
Yellow Bells Care Must-Knows
Although it’s a tough plant tolerant of many soil conditions, yellow bells needs to be planted in rich, medium-moisture, well-drained soil for the most impressive display of blossoms and lushest foliage. That lengthy bloom time means yellow bells appreciates soil amended with organic matter. If you want to grow yellow bells in a container, plant them in a general-purpose potting media mixed with slow-release fertilizer.
To encourage the largest number of blooms, plant yellow bells in full sun. The blossoms will be followed by long, narrow beanlike seedpods. Allow them to dry on the shrub, then crack them open to get thin papery seeds. Direct sow the seeds after the last frost to start new shrubs.
Adding these soil amedments will ensure that your plants grow properly.
Recent breeding breakthroughs have expanded yellow bells’ color options to orange and red blossoms. Breeders are also attempting to create a smaller, more compact version of yellow bells that are better suited to containers.
More Varieties of Yellow Bells
‘Sunrise’ Yellow Bells
Tecoma stans ‘Sunrise’ displays a red-orange throat on its flowers, which gives it the name ‘Sunrise’. It blooms profusely and is a lovely addition to the mixed border. Zones 8-10
Planting Esperanza: Tips For How To Grow The Esperanza Plant
Esperanza (Tecoma stans) goes by many names. The esperanza plant may be known as yellow bells, hardy yellow trumpet, or yellow alder. Regardless of what you call it, the tropical native is easily recognized by its large masses of lightly scented, golden-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers amid the dark green foliage. These can be seen blooming from spring through fall. While esperanza perennials are grown in the landscape as shrubs or container plants for their beauty, they were once quite popular for their medicinal use as well—including a beer that was made from the roots.
Esperanza Growing Conditions
Esperanza plants need to be grown in warm conditions that closely mimic that of their native environments. In other areas they are usually grown in container where they can be overwintered indoors.
While esperanza plants can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, it’s preferable that esperanza be given fertile, well-draining soil. Therefore, any poor soil should be amended with organic matter (i.e. compost) to improve its overall health and drainage. Part of esperanza growing conditions also requires that it be planted in full sun; however, afternoon shade is suitable as well.
Many people choose to add in some slow-release fertilizer as they amend the soil prior to planting esperanza. They are usually planted in mid-spring, long after any threat of frost has ceased. The planting hole should be about two to three times the size of the root ball (when planted outdoors) and just as deep as the pots they were grown in. Allow at least three to four feet spacing between multiple plants.
When planning esperanza seeds (two per pot) may be planted about an eighth of an inch (.3 cm.) deep and misted with water. They should germinate within two to three weeks.
Esperanza care is easy. Since these are relatively low-maintenance plants once established, esperanza care is minimal and not too difficult. They require watering at least once a week, especially during hot weather. Container grown plants may need additional watering. The soil should dry out some between watering intervals.
Also, a water-soluble fertilizer should be given at least every two weeks for container-grown plants, and about every four to six weeks for those planted in the ground.
Cutting the seedpods on the esperanza plant will help promote continuous bloom. In addition, pruning may be necessary each spring to maintain both size and appearance. Cut off any leggy, old, or weak growth. These plants are easy to propagate as well, either by seed or through cuttings.
‘Gold Star’ Esperanza
Plant of the Week
September 3, 2006
The ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza is known botanically as Tecoma stans and is in the family known as Bignoniaceae, which means it is related to the native cross-vine. It is a tropical native to the warmest parts of the United States, Mexico and South America. It is listed as a zone 9 or higher plant. In San Antonio, we normally expect them to reach 4 to5 feet tall and mounding. They are much larger in frost-free areas.
‘Gold Star’ Esperanza is a wonderful selection of Greg Grant made from a private garden in San Antonio while he was Director of Research and Development at Lone Star Growers (now Color Spot Nursery). ‘Gold Star’ was selected because it was the earliest blooming Tecoma stans trialed. Previously, Esperanza was difficult to sell as it didn’t produce blooms in the container until late in the season. ‘Gold Star’ actually produces blooms at the liner stage.
This particular selection is intermediate in all characters between the West Texas Tecoma stans angustata and the tropical Tecoma stans. Although grown as a shrub and a perennial in San Antonio, South Texas, and Mexico, Esperanza works best in most gardens as a tropical container plant, similar to Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, and Mandevilla. It is generally sold in one gallon or three gallon containers.
It was chosen as a Texas Superstar winner judged from the many satisfied gardeners in San Antonio and throughout the State of Texas. This evergreen shrub produces yellow, bell-shaped flowers from spring through frost. It practically laughs at the full-sun heat in July and August. The striking flowers are complemented by dark green, glossy foliage. Butterflies and hummingbirds relish the ‘Yellow Bells’ nectar.
Esperanza bloom best in a site that receives full sun, but they also perform nicely in morning sun and afternoon shade. Grow them in large containers around the porch, patio or deck, or plant in fertile, well-drained soil in the tropical-style garden. Amend heavy, poorly drained soil with the addition of 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and till to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.
While preparing the soil, incorporate 2 pounds of a slow-release,19-5-9 fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area. Dig the planting hole two to three times as large as the root ball and plant at the same depth it is growing in the container.
Feed container-grown plants with a diluted water-soluble 20-20-20 or Host agro fertilizer every other week, or use controlled-release granules according to the formula recommendation. Keep in mind that daily watering and high temperatures usually mean fertilizing more often. Feed those plants in the landscape every four to six weeks with light applications of fertilizer.
Remove seedpods as they form to keep flowers producing, or save a few seeds for planting indoors next winter. They are also easy to propagate from cuttings, and the smaller plants are easier to over-winter.
Use the ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza around the pool for a look of the islands. Grow under tall banana trees or upright elephant ears. Combine with other hummingbird-attracting plants like the Fire Bush or Mexican Bird of Paradise, or even the hardy perennial Firecracker plant. Also try it in front of dark purple forms of buddleia.
‘Yellow Bells’ is often sold generically, but the variety name, ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza from the Texas SuperStar program, is spreading across the country. For more information on Texas SuperStar plants visit the website at http://www.texassuperstar.com/plants.html
It is fun to grow tropicals around our homes, and it is especially nice when they bloom non-stop. This represents good value for your dollar whether you want to protect them through the winter or start over next spring. Plant ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza…It’s a winner!
Remember, Learn and Have Fun!
David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture for Bexar County. He represents Texas Cooperative Extension with the Texas A&M University System. For any landscape or gardening information, call the Bexar County Master Gardeners Hotline at (210) 467-6575, email questions to [email protected], or visit our County Extension website at https://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/
Special Note: Listen “live” with David Rodriguez every Saturday morning between 8:00- 11:00 am on WOAI 1200 AM Gardening Show. Feel free to call in at 737-1200 or 1-800-383-9624. Check it out!
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Yellow bells, or Gold Star esperanza, has become a hot plant in the past couple of years. As a testament to its showy nature, people are buying it despite not knowing much about it.
The Gold Star is known botanically as Tecoma stans and is in the family known as Bignoniaceae, which means it is related to our native cross-vine. It is a tropical native to the warmest parts of the United States, Mexico and South America. It is listed as a zone 9 or higher plant. I have had several gardeners tell me they have coaxed the Gold Star through the winter with an added layer of mulch.
In Mississippi, we normally expect them to reach 3 to 4 feet tall and mounding. They are much larger in frost-free areas.
It was chosen as a Texas Superstar winner and judging from the many satisfied gardeners in Mississippi, it could also qualify as a Mississippi Medallion award winner. This evergreen shrub produces yellow, bell-shaped flowers from spring through frost. It practically laughs at the full-sun heat in July and August.
The striking flowers are complemented by dark green, glossy foliage. Butterflies and hummingbirds relish the yellow bells’ nectar.
Select a site in full sun for best blooming, but they also perform nicely in morning sun and afternoon shade. Grow them in large containers around the porch, patio or deck, or plant in fertile, well-drained soil in the tropical-style garden. Amend heavy, poorly drained soil with the addition of 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and till to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.
While preparing the soil, incorporate 2 pounds of a slow-release, 12-6-6 fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area. Dig the planting hole two to three times as large as the root ball and plant at the same depth it is growing in the container.
Feed container-grown plants with a diluted water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer every other week or use controlled-release granules according to the formula recommendation. Keep in mind that daily watering and high temperatures usually mean fertilizing more often. Feed those in the landscape every four to six weeks with light applications of fertilizer.
Remove seedpods as they form to keep flowers producing, or save a few seeds for planting indoors next winter. They are also easy to propagate from cuttings, and the smaller plants are easier to overwinter.
Use the Gold Star around the pool for a look of the islands. Grow under tall bananas or upright elephant ears. Combine with other hummingbird-attracting plants like the Brazilian sage or bog sage, or even our annual red salvia. Also try it in front of dark purple forms of buddleia.
The yellow bells plant is often sold generically, but the variety name Gold Star esperanza from the Texas Super Star program is spreading across the country.
It is fun to grow tropicals at our homes, and it is especially nice when they bloom non-stop. This represents good value for your dollar whether you want to protect through the winter or start over next spring.
Poisonous Plants . . . Perhaps
Esperanza (Tecoma stans or yellow bells) is beloved by butterflies and hummingbirds, but probably shouldn’t be eaten by humans or pets.
Bet you think this is going to be a list of things not to plant in your yard, right?
The recent comment on the lily blog post about lilies being poisonous — some are, some aren’t — brought to mind an old irritation.
The tendency of reporters to zero in on certain plants as being poisonous has managed to scare a lot of folks away from oleanders, poinsettias, sagos.
Now, probably, a few said, “Oh, no, I can’t have lilies in my yard. They’re poisonous.” But all that’s done is to instill a false sense of security.
Besides, some lilies are poisonous, and some aren’t. Callas are listed as poisonous as are amaryllis and spider lilies.
Ah, but which spider lily? It makes a difference. Lycoris can be definitely fatally poisonous. Hymenocallis (which we also call giant white spider lilies) might make you nauseated, but that’s all. Daylilies are edible, well, most of them are. It’s so complicated.
In fact, most plants listed as poisonous have a range of effects starting with nausea. A lot depends on how much is consumed related to body weight.
Being informed about your plants is a good thing. What’s bad is that a little knowledge makes us overconfident that because we don’t have these, our yards are safe, safe, safe.
NOTHING could be further from the truth. The truth is: most of our common landscape plants are poisonous — some to lesser, some to fatal degrees.
Some have poisonous roots, stems, flowers and/or leaves. Others are poisonous when young but not when they’re older and visa versa. Some are poisonous to pets but not to people; some to people and not to pets.
True, oleander is poisonous, but it’s also offering hope to cancer victims. Oleander extracts are part of promising research at M. D. Anderson Cancer Hospital here in Houston.
But no one, and no pet, will take more than a tip-of-the-tongue-taste of an oleander. It has a revolting taste. Trust me. I know. And I’m still here to tell you this.
The real danger from oleanders is when unknowing folks cut branches to use as sticks to hold food (weiners, marshmallows) cooked over an outdoor fire. The smoke itself will be poisonous.
Yet these incredibly hardy, incredibly beautiful shrubs are just one of many common landscape plants that should not be eaten.
I’m not saying don’t take poisonous plants seriously. You should.
I’m just saying not to “rest easy” when you’ve eliminated the most publicized poisonous plants from your landscape. Chances are good that many, if not most, of the plants in your yard pose should not be eaten either.
THE ONLY SAFE SOLUTION
If you have a child or pet that tends to eat plants, I’d take extreme measures to train him/her not to do this.
Consult a pet trainer if you can’t succeed on your own. And treat eating plants out of the yard the same way you would if your child tends to run out into the street or stick his finger in an electrical outlet or touch a hot stove.
Then, if you’re really worried, get on Google and research every plant your pet/child might eat. Be sure you have the right name.
Even then, you’ll get very frustrated if you check more than one source. Tecoma stans (esperanza or yellow bells) pictured above is listed as nonpoisonous on some lists and as poisonous on others.
Better to teach your child and/or dog not to eat any plant unless you say it’s okay.
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Brenda’s “Lazy Gardener’s Guide” (to gardening in the Greater Houston area — based on her 40+-year Chronicle column) is available on CD. Details: [email protected]
Common names in Spanish:
Tronadora, Trompeta, Hierba de San Pedro, Tecoma xóchitl, Candox (Náhuatl)
Where is it found?
Trumpet flower is an ornamental shrub or small tree native to Mexico and other parts of Latin America, but is now found growing throughout India, as well.
In Mexico, the plant is used as principally as a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes (Argueta, 2014; Kameshwaran et al., 2012).
Parts of the plant used:
Mainly the leaves and flowers, although sometimes the root is also used medicinally.
How is it used?
Hot water is poured on the leaves and flowers and taken as an infusion (tea), while the roots and stems are boiled in water (decoction).
What is it used for?
In Mexico, it is mainly used internally as a folk remedy for Type 2 Diabetes, although the leaves and flowers are also used to treat colds, fever, jaundice, headache, and kidney problems (Argueta, 2014; Alarcón-Aguilar and Román-Ramos, 2006). The leaves contain the alkaloids known as “tecomine” and “tecostamine”, which have been found to lower blood glucose (sugar) levels when given intravenously to laboratory animals.
Another compound present in the leaves, known as anthranilic acid, also lowers blood sugar levels (Kameshwaran et al., 2012). The flowers are used to prepare a tea to relieve menstrual cramps, as well as an emmenaogue to promote menstruation. The decoction made from the roots is taken as a tea to promote urination, as well as an antidote for scorpion and snake venoms, although this has not been proven scientifically (Argueta, 2014). Externally, the leaves and flowers are made into a poultice or wash to treat skin infections (Quattrocchi, 2012).
The plant possesses powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activity due to its content of natural chemicals called flavonoids.
With regard to these compounds, Raju et al. (2011) found that an extract made from trumpet flower could be useful in protecting the kidneys from the toxic side effects of an antibiotic known as gentamicin.
Additionally, Jacobo-Salcedo, et al. (2011) found that this plant has important antimicrobial action against certain multi-drug resistant pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria.
- Mature Height: 6’-10’
- Mature Width: 6’-10’
- Light Requirements: Full Sun
- Water Requirements: Moderate to Little Water
- Hardiness Zones: 10, 11, 8b, 9
Yellow Bells, also called Esperanza, are fast growing and heavy blooming shrubs. While they will perennialize in warmer climates, yellow bells can be used as an annual in cooler climates. Plants can be evergreen in warm regions and will typically become taller in those areas. Depending on temperatures plants may drop their leaves in winter. The flowers are trumpet-shaped and form in clusters that are 3-5 inches wide, followed by greyish-green seed pods. Plants have a long blooming period that starts in early April and continues through November. The flowers are irresistible to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds! This shrub tends to flower heavier during drought periods and heat. Plants have an organic, irregular growth habit and are not suited to regular shearing. Their lush tropical foliage adds interest in many differents settings in the landscape. Plants are native to the southwest areas of the United States reaching to Central and South America in a variety of landscape settings. Yellow bells is fairly drought tolerant; be careful not to overwater as this often results in fewer flowers. Newer cultivars are available in a variety of colors, such as orange and peach; other hybrids are more compact in size.