Tecoma to Toot About

Orange Esperanza is especially appealing in hot Texas summer.

I took this photo in my own yard a few years ago. I’d fallen in love with ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza, the Texas SuperStar® plant that had been so highly touted by our friends at Texas A&M 25 years ago. It’s still one of our finest sources of summertime color.

But then along came this plant. It melted my eyes like a big bowl of orange sherbet, and before I knew it, I had it growing front and center in a large patio pot in our landscape. I loved it then, and I’ve loved it ever since, although I haven’t tried to keep it through a winter in North Central Texas. Our cold is too extreme to plant it into the ground, and my greenhouse is too small to handle its size. When I want one, I buy a new one in the spring and let it go with first freeze. If you’re in South Texas you wouldn’t have to do that.

So, here are my thoughts based on my few plants and the others I’ve seen used in commercial landscapes in ensuing years.

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Orange Tecoma observations…
I’m not a research scientist. These are just casual observations I’ve made around my own landscape and in seeing this plant in commercial and home landscapes over the past 10 or 12 years.

It is a taller plant than ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza.
Its flowers are larger than those of ‘Gold Star.’
My plant didn’t bloom nearly as heavily as my several ‘Gold Stars.’ Nonetheless, it was lovely in contrast with copper plants, crotons and the other orange and yellow plants around it.

Orange Jubilee blooms abundantly.

• I have since seen a cultivar labeled as ‘Orange Jubilee’ grown in medians in the city of Allen. Everywhere I’ve seen this plant I’ve liked it. Give it a try. I’ll bet you will, too.

Street median in the city of Allen several years ago featured purpleheart in foreground, then Mexican bird of paradise and, in back, Orange Jubilee Esperanza.

Interesting Note: In doing just a bit of Web searching before I started writing this story I found that even the serious botanists can’t seem to agree on the plant’s scientific name. I love this statement from Arizona State:
“There exists significant taxonomic confusion with regards to the correct botanical name for orange bells. Do a Web search and you may find a veritable cacophony of ‘correct’ scientific names.”

Posted by Neil Sperry
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