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Barbara Hughes
Seminole County Extension Services Manager
250 West County Home Road
Sanford, FL  32773
(407) 665-5560

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Extension Services

yellow trumpet tree

Sanford, Fla.; The genus Tabebuia contains some of the most beautiful flowering trees of the American tropics. Out of about seventy-five species in cultivation, the best know trumpet-trees in Florida are the Silver Trumpet tree or Tree of Gold from Argentina and Paraguay and the Golden Trumpet tree that grows from Mexico to Venezuela. Both trees produce magnificent yellow funnel-shaped flowers. Other species produce pink to purple flowers. Most of the Tabebuias are considered valuable timber trees and all of them produce spectacular trumpet shaped flowers. Tabebuias belong to the plant family Bignoniaceae that includes the native Trumpet-Flower vine or Cross Vine and the beautiful Jacaranda.

The tree: The Golden Trumpet Tree grows about 15 to 25 feet high and has a spread of 25 to 35 feet. The tree is considered an evergreen but most often deciduous. The trunk is usually crooked and rough, with a light gray, corky bark. Leaves are silvery with tan, fuzzy undersides, palmately compound and opposite, with oval-shaped leaflets, 2 to 4 inches long. Flowers are very showy, funnel-shaped, fragrant, formed in dense terminal clusters, individual flowers are 2 to 3 inches long. Blooms are produced in late winter or early spring, when trees have no leaves. The fruit is an elongated pod, 6 to 12 inches long, brown in color, dry and hard, with many winged seeds. The fruits remain on the tree for many months.

Culture: The golden trumpet tree grows best in full sun on almost any well-drained, fertile soil with moderate moisture. Will grow in acid to alkaline soils, but prefers pH between 5.5 and 7.0. Once established it is quite drought tolerant. Young trees need support and training. The tree should be protected from frost and wind, as the wood becomes brittle with age and can break easily in strong winds. The trees freeze at about 28 degrees F. It is propagated mainly by seeds, and layering. The tree should be pruned to a single leader to develop a strong structure. The trunk will droop as the tree grows, and will require pruning for pedestrian clearance beneath the canopy.

Use: The tree can be used as container or above ground planter, in large or medium size parking lot islands, as a specimen, residential street tree or planted near a deck or patio.
Pests and diseases: No serious pests or diseases affect these trees, but leaf spots, die-back, and rust diseases have been reported on this tree. Thrips damage has been reported in South Florida on pink Tabebuia.

Other tropical Tabebuias:
The Pink Trumpet Tree: This tree grows at a moderate rate from a slim pyramid when young to a broad silhouette, 20 to 40 feet tall. The palmately compound, green leaves are evergreen throughout most of its range but may be briefly deciduous as the new leaves emerge. The bell-shaped blooms are produced throughout the spring and summer followed by the production of long, slender seedpods.

The Purple Tabebuia: This briefly deciduous tree reaches 15 to 20 feet in height and has a fairly open canopy. The dark green, palmately compound leaves are joined in late winter or early spring by the showy, trumpet-shaped blooms, appearing in dense, rose, pink to purple, terminal panicles. Trees will have a better form if trained to a single leader and staked until they are six to eight feet tall.

The Rosy Trumpet Tree: This tree is also known as the Pink Poui, Roble Blanco, and White Cedar. It bears handsome, darkish pinnate leaves and rosy trumpet flowers in profusion at many times of the year.

Al Ferrer
Seminole Co. Residential Horticulturist

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