Fall Shades of Orange

As Lynn and I have been out running errands the past several days I’ve seen the two plants I’ve decided to feature this week. Neither is reliably winter-hardy in our part of Texas (DFW), but they’re certainly worth planting as hot-weather annuals. They’re in full bloom right now, and their rich shades of orange bring great joy to the fall landscape. And for those of you in the southern half of the state they’re great perennial plants.

If you love Gold Star Esperanza, you’ll be just as fond of its cousin Orange Jubilee.

Orange Jubilee Esperanza
Gold Star Esperanza has been a huge hit since it was brought into the Texas market 20-some years ago. This is its somewhat larger orange-flowering sister.

Orange Jubilee Esperanza is now given its own species name, Tecoma alata according to Arizona State University. That sets it apart from Gold Star, a selection of Tecoma stans. Orange Jubilee grows to be 4 to 6 feet tall and wide (larger toward the Gulf Coast, and its trumpet-shaped flowers keep coming all summer and way into late fall. It’s gorgeous right now.

Continued Below

Pride of Barbados is a magnet for beautiful butterflies.

Pride of Barbados
Pride of Barbados is also called red Mexican bird of paradise, it’s botanically Caesalpinia pulcherrima.

You’ll see it frequently the farther south you go in Texas (not as often in North Central Texas). It’s used with great abundance in Austin and San Antonio and southward, and Tiger Swallowtails abound around it.

It grows to be a shrub 8 or 10 feet tall and wide in South Texas. In Central Texas it may suffer freeze damage and have to be trimmed to remove the dead wood come spring. In North Texas it will probably have to be used as a hot-weather tropical annual.

Both of these plants require full sun and heat to meet their potential. With regular watering via a working drip irrigation system, they are basically sources of no-care color.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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