Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Tecoma stans

Yellow bells, Yellowbells, Esperanza, Yellow trumpetbush, Yellow trumpetflower, Trumpetbush, Trumpetflower, Yellow elder

Bignoniaceae (Trumpet-Creeper Family)

Tecoma stans (Yellow bells)
Marcus, Joseph A.
Esperanza or Yellow bells is an irregularly shaped, deciduous shrub, normally 3-6 ft. tall in the US but more southerly varieties can reach 9 ft. It has several stems and slender, erect branches. Clusters of large, trumpet-shaped, yellow flowers are very showy against the lance-shaped, olive-green leaves. Long, thin pods are conspicuous in autumn. It has an enormous natural range, extending from south Texas west to Arizona and south through Mexico and Central America to South America as far as northern Argentina, as well as in southern Florida south through much of the Caribbean. Plants native to the southwestern US and adjacent Mexico are Tecoma stans var. angustata, which is shorter, more drought-tolerant, and more cold-tolerant than some of the tropical varieties sold in nurseries.

Anyone who has seen this plant in bloom can understand why one of its names is Yellow bells, as it produces great, attention-grabbing, yellow blossoms. In recent years, it has become a popular landscaping plant, valued as much for its drought-tolerance as for its spectacular appearance.

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41 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Lanceolate , Linear
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Serrate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Raceme , Panicle
Size Notes: Normally 3-6 ft high in North America but can be as much as 9 ft.
Leaf: Green to olive green
Flower: Flowers 3-5 inches
Fruit: Green to greyish brown 4-8 inches long.
Size Class: 3-6 ft. , 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AZ , FL , NM , TX
Native Distribution: South-central Texas west to Arizona, south through Mexico and Central America to South America as far as northern Argentina. Southern Florida south through the Caribbean.
Native Habitat: High elevations, hillsides, slopes, canyons

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well drained, rocky, limestone, sand, and loam soils
Conditions Comments: North American native varieties of this species can survive winters within their natural range but may die to the ground during especially harsh winters even there. Varieties sold in nurseries may be from tropical stock and not do so well in US cold. Yellow bells is drought tolerant and Southwestern varieties are adapted to monsoon rains with dry spells between. They may flower better if such conditions are emulated in planned landscapes, so allow ground to dry out between waterings. It is tolerant of confinement if containers are at least 12 inches in diameter and thus makes a good potted specimen.


Use Ornamental: A showy, attractive, long-blooming accent shrub for rock gardens, perennial gardens, and other home landscapes within its range
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, bees, hummingbirds. Seeds-Small mammals. Leaves-browsed by mammals.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Hummingbirds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Dogface butterfly
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Tecoma stans is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Plebeian sphinx
(Paratrea plebeja)

Food Source
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2010-11-08