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WHATS BLOOMIN’ IN PARADISE?: A gardeners journey Plant Subject: Jacaranda Tree (Jacaranda mimosifolia )

April 21, 2011
Anita Marshall
First impression: Treelike panicles, filled with blue-lilac-ish flowers that remind me of lavender fields on a tree. These small flowers on tall flower stems emerge from the canopy of a large tree and can be seen in masses. Soft green fernlike leaves are wispy and tiny but also numerous on long, tall stems. The trunk is smooth with silvery gray bark. Our tree stands very straight with a canopy that spreads out wide and tall. No detectable scents in the air.

So back up, you gotta view this beauty at a distance; we have a very large Jacaranda Tree in that one of a kind color, blooming at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Jacaranda is pronounced jack-uh-RAN-duh, and is a non native and hails from South America. Our star is the most popular out of 49 different species. It is considered a unique booming tree because of its bluish lavender colored flowers.

If you are curious about the hue, just open your super-sized Crayola box, Jacaranda is a lovely shade of lavender in crayons. This color is in the form of trumpet shaped flowers, which are small but numerous. They have fuzzy white-streaked throats and are arranged on very tall upright tree like stalks.

Just imagine how numerous these small flowers have to be on such a super-sized tree. Its mature height is around 40 feet tall. Remember, to check your maximum height before planting any tree or shrub into your garden. Careful planning and research will avoid transplanting. Jacarandas are not a wise choice planted under houses or utility wires. They are classified as fast growers so, your short, young tree will very quickly become tall.

I have found that here in SWF, Jacarandas do better if you plant them in an area that has shade at some point of the day. They also are best planted nestled with other trees and shrubs. They can have brittle branches and have a habit of forming multi trunks. Regular pruning to shape and design a central trunk and sturdy limbs is a must.

Non pruned trees can become hazardous if they split apart at the crotches and develop weak limbs. I concentrate on form and removing crossing branches. I enjoy sculpturing trees with pruners. Manicured ascetically will show, especially when the leaves fall off, before its flowers form.

After the flowers, unique fruits appear round, flat, dark brown, woody capsules containing numerous small winged seeds. The seeds are encased by a light papery covering equipped with wings. The fruits are a test of patience to try and pry open. These seeds must have been desirable eating long ago by wildlife. Its armored casing is very difficult to crack! Propagation is by softwood cuttings, grafting, or by seed. Trees grown from seed take approximately 15 years to flower.

My first Jacaranda memory transports me to Portugal in the spring. Double digit mature trees lining the streets of villages and in full bloom. Mamma Mia, life is magical all over the world!

Pros: Pretty flowers with lots of blossoms - Drought tolerant - Attractive when blooming or non blooming -Insect damage minimal - Bring out your inner pruning designer desires - Fast grower – Show stopper when in bloom – Don’t you just love saying jack-uh-RAN-duh.

Cons: Non Native status – Low salt tolerance – Need to prune for regularly - Non fragrant – Seed pods are plentiful and messy – Not cold hearty - Can form large surface roots - May tire of telling neighbors the name of your tree and which came first it or our restaurant.

Conclusion: Unmistakable Jacaranda, our SW Florida version of the Lilac Tree. Check this off your plant life list, so many blossoms, so little time in a tropical eye catching garden.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!

Article Photos

Trumpets of lavender

 
 

 

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