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Products > Tecoma stans forma velutina
Tecoma stans forma velutina - Velvet Yellow Bells
Image of Tecoma stans forma velutina
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Bignoniaceae (Bignonias)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [Tecoma stans var. velutina]
Height: 10-16 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Tecoma stans forma velutina (Velvet Yellow Bells) - An evergreen, densely branched shrub that will grow 10-15 feet tall (can be trained into a tree) with light brown bark that becomes corky with age. It has bright green opposite leaves that are pinnately compound with sharply pointed oval leaflets. The 2-3 in long leaflets have sharply toothed edges and are covered on both surfaces, but particularly the undersides, with fine hairs. The tubular flowers are 1-2 inches long and hang in showy clusters at the branch tips and forks, bending the twigs into arches with their weight. The blooms appear in flushes throughout the growing season from midspring on through summer. They are followed by 8 in long string bean-like pods.

Plant in full sun and irrigate occasionally; needs little water once established and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and drought. This form of the species has weathered cold temperatures in the Goleta Valley such as the January 2007 freeze with 3 nights at 25 F. It makes a very nice large shrub or trained up as a small tree with showy flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

The species Tecoma stans can be found growing from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona south through Mexico into South America but those growing in the U.S. and northern Mexico are the smaller Tecoma stans var. angustata and there is speculation that plants of this subspecies growing further south into Mexico were likely introduced. This form of the species, once considered a variety as Tecoma stans var. velutina, comes from generally higher elevations in central Mexico. The name for the genus comes from Nahuatl word "tecomaxochitl" which was applied by the indigenous peoples of Mexico to plants with tubular flowers. The specific epithet means "standing erect" or "upright" in reference to the form of the plant. Other common names include Yellow Trumpet Vine, Yellow Elder, Yellowbells, Esperanza, Yellow Trumpetbush, Yellow Trumpetflower, and Yellow Elder.

We got this form of Tecoma stans from horticulturist and plant breeder John Bleck, who grows it in his Goleta, California garden. He noted that it required less heat to bloom than the typical forms of Tecoma stans being grown and so he thought it possibly better for coastal gardens. In an article titled "Taxonomy of Tecoma stans (Bignoniaceae) in North America" in the August 2013 issue of Phytologia the author Billie L. Turner reduced Tecoma stans var. velutina to a form of the species, noting that there is every possible graduation between the forms with glabrous leaflet and those with tomentose ones. 

This information about Tecoma stans forma velutina displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.