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Friday - August 16, 2013

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrinkled. Should I be concerned? The rest of the plant is fine & it continues to grow & bloom.


We found one previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on a leaf problem with Tecoma stans (Yellow bells) (also known as esperanza of Yellow Bells.) This previous answer does not address wrinkling leaves, but does mention several possibilities for trouble. Of course, it is always worrisome when just one portion of a plant seems to be affected by something - who knows what? You should first examine the branch very closely and ask yourself questions. Example of questions: Is there any possibility that just one root area has been damaged, by garden tools or animals? Is that particular branch in the line of a sprinkler? Now, a week after you asked your question, have any other parts of the plant begun to suffer?

To go on to general information. Did you know that the Esperanza is a member of the Bignoniaceae (Trumpet Creeper) family and therefore closely related to plants like Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) and Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper), both vines, and Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)? If you look at the blooms of those three plants in the pictures from our Image Gallery below, you will see the resemblance in the blooms.

From BackyardGardener.com we found an article on Tecoma stans that mentioned these pests and diseases:

 "Problems Pest : Spider Mites

Spider mites are small, 8 legged, spider-like creatures which thrive in hot, dry conditions (like heated houses). Spider mites feed with piercing mouth parts, which cause plants to appear yellow and stippled. Leaf drop and plant death can occur with heavy infestations. Spider mites can multiply quickly, as a female can lay up to 200 eggs in a life span of 30 days. They also produce a web which can cover infested leaves and flowers.

Prevention and Control: Keep weeds down and remove infested plants. Dry air seems to worsen the problem, so make sure plants are regularly watered, especially those preferring high humidity such as tropicals, citrus, or tomatoes. Always check new plants prior to bringing them home from the garden center or nursery. Take advantage of natural enemies such as ladybug larvae. If a miticide is recommended by your local garden center professional or county Cooperative Extension office, read and follow all label directions. Concentrate your efforts on the undersides of the leaves as that is where spider mites generally live.

Pest : Whiteflies

Whiteflies are small, winged insects that look like tiny moths, which attack many types of plants. The flying adult stage prefers the underside of leaves to feed and breed. Whiteflies can multiply quickly as a female can lay up to 500 eggs in a life span of 2 months. If a plant is infested with whiteflies, you will see a cloud of fleeing insects when the plant is disturbed. Whiteflies can weaken a plant, eventually leading to plant death if they are not checked. They can transmit many harmful plant viruses. They also produce a sweet substance called honeydew (coveted by ants) which can lead to an unattractive black surface fungal growth called sooty mold.

Possible controls : keep weeds down; use screening in windows to keep them out; remove infested plants away from non-infested plants; use a reflective mulch (aluminum foil) under plants (this repels whiteflies); trap with yellow sticky cards, apply labeled pesticides; encourage natural enemies such as parasitic wasps in the garden; and sometimes a good steady shower of water will wash them off the plant."

One other that we would add to that list is leaf-curl aphids - here is a previous answer on that beastie. Maybe the leaves are curling, not wrinkling. This is one of those irritating plants that all our resources assure us are little bothered by pests and diseases. HA!



From the Image Gallery

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Bignonia capreolata

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

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