Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - October 18, 2007

From: San Angelo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Nutrient imbalance in Tecoma stans
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have two Tecoma stans on the north-east side of my yard. They have grown very tall (5') but have not bloomed all summer. Last summer they bloomed profusely. Any idea what the problem might be?

ANSWER:

Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush) aka Esperanza or Yellow Bells is a popular landscape plant that is native to Texas and Northern Mexico, and the cultivar "Gold Star", developed by a plant breeder in San Antonio, TX, has become a favorite in Texas due to its abundant flower production and its shorter height.

Since you had profuse blooms last summer, but none this summer, the question to ask yourself is what am I doing differently this summer? Flowering is a complex process that is influenced by several factors including amount of sunlight, amount of water, and nutrient balance, particularly the nitrogen to phosphorous (N/P) ratio. Unless you have transplanted the Tecoma or have had an unusual amount of rainfall, you can probably eliminate the first two. Austin has had a really wet summer, and the Tecoma here are blooming spectacularly.
That leaves nutrient levels. If you fertilized in the spring with a fertilizer that had higher nitrogen content relative to phosphorous, this may be your problem. I'm including links to Texas A&M and Penn State that do a great job of explaining the N/P ratio and its effect on flowering.

You might also check to make sure that there aren't any insects that are attacking the immature buds. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

More Shrubs Questions

Yucca blades damaged by weedeater in Hellertown PA
July 05, 2011 - Can I cut off the blades of a Yucca plant that have been eaten on the edges with a weed wacker and are very unsightly looking? Can they be cut back to the flower shaft?
view the full question and answer

Pruning cherry laurel in January in Austin
January 07, 2011 - Do trust I checked Q&A first. Can Cherry Laurel shrubs be pruned earlier than late winter in Austin? I foolishly planted 12 native Cherry Laurel standards on our suburban property line 5 years ago. I ...
view the full question and answer

Small shrub to plant in Austin Texas
March 11, 2009 - Hi.. I live in Southwest Austin and I am looking for a shrub that I can plant against the back of my house, which faces the north. I want something native, fairly low maintenance and not too large,...
view the full question and answer

Need shrubs to plant alongside a swimming pool in Tampa, FL.
September 05, 2011 - I Have a 3 1/2 foot gap between my pool screen and back fence. This gap runs about 30 ft. long. I would like to place small trees to look beautiful and to grow 6-8 ft. high to screen out my neighbor...
view the full question and answer

Lilac bush roots dangerous to house foundations
August 06, 2008 - Are lilac bushes dangerous to the foundation of a house? There is a lovely white-blooming lilac that grows against the house outside my bedroom window. My ex-husband said that the roots would destro...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.