Almost one year ago today, I wrote a blog post on a beautiful Handroanthus impetiginosus that I found in flower while on a mountain bike ride. This time, while driving out to a small nursery to buy my Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony‘, I ran across this gorgeous Handroanthus chrysotricha in full bloom. It is worthy of its own blog post. Handroanthus chrysotricha is one of the many trees that used to be in the genus Tabebuia. It took me a while to get used to not calling it Tabebuia chrysotricha.
Handroanthus chrysotricha (Golden Trumpet Tree) is one of those flowering trees that when you see one in full flower like this excellent specimen, you’ll find yourself asking why you don’t see it planted everywhere. Who wouldn’t want such a sight in their garden?
I believe the reason you don’t see Handroanthus chrysotricha (or other Handroanthus, for that matter) planted as much as they should be is simply due to the fact they are too slow for most gardeners or landscape specialists. A tree like the one posted here has to be 15-20 years from seed. Growers like quick turnover, and Handroanthus chrysotricha doesn’t offer that for them. Most landscapers plant trees for shade, and again, Handroanthus chrysotricha will only offer that with great age. The usual height for older trees you find in Southern California is around 15 to 25 feet tall. In their native South America, they grow to 50 feet tall. To most in Southern California, this plant is best considered a patio tree.
The Golden Trumpet Tree gets its name from the numerous trumpet-like, bright yellow flowers that blanket the tree while in bloom. A Golden Trumpet Tree like the one shown here blooms so profusely that you don’t really get a chance to appreciate the individual flowers. Which are quite impressive on their own. In fact, Handroanthus chrysotricha is the official flower of Brazil. That says a lot.
Handroanthus chrysotricha does show some drought tolerance. In fact, to get a massive bloom like this, gardeners have found that no supplemental watering in winter is key. These trees like to dry out when not actively growing.
I have mentioned in the past that I currently grow four different Handroanthus/Tabebuia in my garden. I have Tabebuia ‘Kampong Pink’ (most likely a Handroanthus as well), a white flowering Handroanthus impetiginosus, and an unknown Ipê collected from the wild in Brazil. I also grow a large flowering clone of Handroanthus chrysotricha which is currently leggy and very skinny. I am many years away from having my tree look like the one in this post.