Golden Trumpet Tree in bloom

bahia(SF Bay Area)June 1, 2011

This tree is just finishing up bloom here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and while perfectly hardy in Sunset zones 14 through 17 around here, is seldom seen. I'll admit, in my zone 17 garden it seldom blooms as profusely as I've seen it in southern California, but even a few blooms at a time rather than covering the tree make my day in April and May. There is a fabulous group of these at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek at the driveway approach to the Folly entry, not to be missed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tabebuia chrysotricha in bloom

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It is an interesting tree, thanks for expanding our knowledge. I do not think it would take the winter here, at least not regularly. At 30 to 50 feet covered with flowers it must be stunning. Al

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:31AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Al, I wouldn't be so quick to rule it out. It does very well out in Walnut Creek at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, a definite zone 14 setting, and weathered the December 1990 freeze that nearly killed the Chorisia speciosa in the garden. More summer heat is definitely to its liking, but it flowers most beautifully where it gets dryer winters with early warm springs, which isn't really our northern California climate, is it?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:10AM
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For a San Diego xeriscape garden do you recommend either (or none)
the T. chrysotricha or the pink T. impetiginosa?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:10PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

They are both beautiful trees, but different in foliage character. T. chrysotricha is easier to get to bloom at a young age, I'm still waiting for first blooms on T. impetiginosa after 5 years. I'm sure you see enough of these all around San Diego to get an idea of how they would do for you. They do want some irrigation in summer for best growth, and best bloom is seen after a dryer winter.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:20PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Love that beautiful yellow!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 12:07AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Strange and fussy tree with the most brilliant yellow I have ever seen. We put ours in ten years ago, and it finally gave us a single clump of blooms three years ago. I think I posted it here- I was so excited. This year it got 21 flowers (I counted) and we had one ninety degree day ALL SPRING and poof! they were all in the pond by evening.

There were two trees down the street, the ones that originally inspired us, and I have not seen them bloom at all for five years; but if the blooms only last a day or two that's probably why.

That said, mine is a tiny, graceful tree that takes up almost no space.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 1:09AM
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Uploaded with

If you are looking for a tree loaded with yellow flowers every spring, consider the Fremontodendron, an evergreen California native requiring no summer water at all. Al

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 9:29AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

That doesn't quite jibe with what I see on this tree here in the Bay Area. The individual flowers are relatively short lived, yes, but still last about a week before falling. They are also delicate, so the bloom lasts longest if they aren't located where they get a lot of wind when in bloom. I always use this tree up against a house wall or against a backdrop of pines or cypresses to accentuate the blooming contrast, or increase the heat load here in Alameda/Berkeley, where it is a bit on the cool side for best blooming.

Are you right on the coast, or do your trees get too much irrigation in the late fall into early winter period? A bit of fertilizer in the late summer and withholding some water over the winter may help. They also seem to prefer a bit of winter chill to encourage bloom set. I've seen them doing very well in other coastal locations in southern California, especially in Santa Barbara and Santa Moncia.

In habitat, these trees would typically get summer rains and stay dry in the winter, and the winter drought would cause them to lose their leaves.

And yes, the Fremontodendron hybrids such as 'California Glory' or similar are probably much more floriferous over a longer period, but don't quite have that same delicate appeal...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 11:23AM
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We are two miles west of Calistoga on part of the old Petrified Forest Road on the north side of a heavily forested mountain. My Fremontodendrons are on the edge of the forest, and have never been watered or fertilized. I believe they are the hybrid San Gabriel. With the forest to the south the Fremontodendrons lean heavily north down hill. Two of them actually laid down on the ground when about 20 feet tall. The one pictured I cut about four feet from the ground, pulled it back upright with a come along and tied it to a tee post for a couple of years. It now has a lot of lateral branching and is not so tall. Al

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:13PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Al, my comments were directed to the nonblooming Tabebuia chrysotricha trees in southern California. I know that Fremontodendron is super reliable for extreme color as long as they aren't overwatered. I've used both the San Gabriel and California Glory in garden designs, and they are both incredible in bloom. Unfortunately they often get way too big and don't mix well with other plants that need some summer water.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 11:02PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I think my golden trumpet gets too much root competition and probably too much water where it is. There was a Fremontodendron on the 405 at the Sepulveda pass that almost made it worth having to be on the 405. No, not really, but it sure was a sight for sore eyes.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:19AM
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