Jacaranda Tree – Comprehensive Guide

Jacaranda trees are absolute show-stoppers with their purple flowers. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about them!

Filling the spring sky with a cloud of purple, a blooming jacaranda tree is a stunning sight to behold. It’s easy to see why this beauty is a popular specimen in tropical and subtropical areas.

If you’re considering adding a jacaranda to your landscape, we cover all the important details. Included below is everything from the general information to how to promote healthy growth.

Read on to learn all about jacaranda trees and their preferences. After reading, you’ll feel like a professional horticulturist when your tree bursts into its elaborate bloom come spring.

General Information

Jacarandas are subtropical trees native to central and southern South America. It is also commonly referred to as blue jacaranda. Although the genus contains a wealth of different species, Jacaranda mimosifolia is the most common. It’s a popular and hardy tree cultivated in subtropical and tropical climates. Therefore, it’s hardy growing in USDA zones 9 through 11.

In fact, it’s so hardy that southeastern Queensland, Australia considers the tree an invasive species.

These trees are fast-growing, resulting in soft wood prone to breakage. Mature trees grow up to 40 feet tall, with a width of up to 60 feet.

The tree forms into an open, vase shape with a spreading canopy. Trees can have single or multiple trunks. Graceful branches are filled with green, feather-like foliage. During fall and winter, the deciduous leaves become yellow before dropping. In its warmest locations, it can be semi-evergreen.

Despite it’s graceful beauty, it’s all about the extravagant blooms. Spring through summer, the tree forms 18-inch long panicles. They fill with clusters of lightly scented, violet-purple or lavender, trumpet-shaped flowers. The cultivar ‘Alba’ produces white flowers.

The flowers can fill the canopy with intense color before the new flush of foliage emerges.

The spent flowers form into fruits containing the jacaranda seeds. The round fruits turn hard and brown when ripe, with the inside containing the seeds.

General Care Guide

When grown in their preferred climate and conditions, jacaranda trees are a breeze to take care of. It doesn’t take much to keep them growing healthy and happily in your yard.

Amount of Sun

Grow trees in an outdoor location situated in full sun. The tree performs best when it receives eight to 12 hours of sun daily. However, immature trees will grow well planted in light shade. Place potted trees brought indoors to a protected location during winter in a sunny area.

Although they tolerate growing in partial shade, a sunny location produces the best growth and flowering. Growing them in too much shade affects flowering and the tree will produce fewer blooms.

Due to their fast growth and ultimate size, a jacaranda tree won’t grow well too long in a pot. However, saplings can be placed in pots and can be brought indoors if your climate is experiencing an unexpected freeze. Place the sapling near a south- or west-facing window.

Soil Conditions

Grow jacaranda trees in soils that drain well and do not remain soggy. Soggy soils promote problems with root rot, which can lead to death. They produce best growth and most blooms when planted in poorer sandy soils. It also grows well in loamy soils with good drainage.

If you are growing a sapling in a pot, use a well-drained potting mix. Don’t use a heavy soil mixture that drains slowly. Heavy soils remain soggy for too long. Always use a pot with bottom drain holes.

Watering Frequency

The frequency and amount of water they require is based on various things. Climate, soil type, and season all play an important role. It’s always best to water deeply. Saturate the soil to a depth of around 2 feet. The tree requires applications that are more frequent when conditions are sandy and hot.

If your tree is planted in sandy soil, you can expect to water twice weekly, especially if conditions are hot and dry. Loamy soils only require irrigation about once each week.

If your location is experiencing an especially hot and dry summer, you may have to water more frequently.

During winter, the jacaranda tree stops actively growing. This means you can cut back watering to monthly applications.

Water potted jacarandas when the top several inches of soil become dry. Stick your finger into the soil, and if it feels dry, apply water.

You can help the soil conserve its moisture by using mulch. Spread several inches of organic mulch under the canopy. Just be sure to keep it pulled back several inches from the trunk to prevent pest and disease problems.

Fertilization

Fertilize during the growing season in spring with a general-purpose fertilizer. Use something like a 10-10-10 applied according to package directions for amounts. Jacarandas aren’t big feeders, so they only require one annual feeding to promote healthy growth and blooms. May is a good time to fertilize.

Don’t stress if you forget to fertilize your tree because it’s very forgiving. The tree thrives in even the poorest conditions, so a missed feeding won’t kill it.

When applying, spread the fertilizer evenly under the tree’s canopy. Lightly scratch it into the soil and then water. Just be sure not to butt the product against the trunk to prevent burning.

If you have a young sapling growing in a pot, use a general-purpose, water-soluble blend. Mix and apply when you usually water. Apply in spring.

Pruning

Do any major pruning in the fall and winter. Blooms form on new wood. However, you can remove broken, crossing, or diseased branches year-round. Pruning so there’s one main trunk creates a strong structure. Unpruned trees with more than one trunk develop a weak structure and are prone to splitting.

Pruning while it is still a sapling is important to develop a strong structure. It is the ideal time to remove all but the healthiest looking central trunk. Keep the additional volunteer trunks trimmed off at ground level as they sprout.

Prune to keep major branches spaced apart and open. Never trim off more than one-fifth of the canopy. Trimming off more can weaken the tree.

For the jacaranda tree to develop a strong structure and shape, prune at least every three years. Unpruned trees can be hazardous with splitting and falling branches.

Be sure to use clean pruning tool blades when making your cuts. You don’t want to accidentally transfer a disease or pest.

Design Ideas

Jacaranda trees make gorgeous additions to any landscape. They make spectacular specimens, bursting into bloom with either purplish or white flowers. They can brighten any yard with non-stop color. In portions of California, they are used as showy street trees, filling streets with a haze of purple. When properly placed, the tree has multiple landscape uses.

They work well as a shade tree, offering dappled shade to an otherwise full sun site. You can relax under the feathery foliage and beat the heat of a summer day.

Due to their potential large mature size, they work best planted in medium-sized to large yards. Their spreading canopy can overpower a very small landscape.

Their graceful and flowing branches make it an attractive addition planted by a patio or porch. It also is quite showy, producing an elegant canopy over walkways.

A jacaranda tree adds a tropical flair to any garden. Their drought-tolerance makes them a good choice for water wise gardens.

When in bloom, they make eye-catching specimens or accent trees. They will definitely get all the attention wherever placed.

Design Considerations

When selecting a location to plant your jacaranda, there are some qualities you need to consider. Between the fallen flowers, leaves in winter, and the fallen fruit, the tree can be messy. Therefore, you don’t want to plant the tree near a swimming pool. Otherwise, you’ll be continually cleaning up around the pool area.

The leaves can also clog up your pool filter and possibly break it. You’ll be cursing yourself for years to come if you plant your jacaranda next to your pool.

Even if you’ve pruned the tree to develop a strong structure, you don’t want to plant it close to structures or powerlines. Due to its fast growth, the wood is considered weak. Falling branches might cause damage if planted too close.

Jacarandas have vigorous growing root systems. Therefore, you don’t want to plant the tree too close to water lines or sewer lines. It’s possible the root system can cause damage to the lines. The roots can also lift sidewalks.

Companion Plants

You have a variety of plants that grow well as companions to jacarandas. Whether you’re looking for low-growing ground covers, shrubs, or another tree, choices are varied. Some companions will add color to the area when the tree is no longer blooming. Always make sure to pick companion plants that thrive in the same growing conditions.

Companion Trees

A few companion trees that work well include:

  • Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) – Red flowers in early to late summer.
  • Yellow Poinciana (Peltophorum pterocarpum) – Yellow flowers in summer to fall.
  • Orchid Tree (Bauhinia spp.) – Red, white, purple, yellow and pink flowers year-round.

Companion Shrubs

Shrubs that make good companion shrubs include:

  • Croton (Croton spp.) – Colorful evergreen foliage year-round.
  • Plumbago (Plumbago spp.) – Year-round blue flowers.
  • Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepis indica) – Evergreen producing white spring flowers.

Ground Covers

Some ground covers include:

  • Liriope (Liriope spp.) – Evergreen with green or variegated grass-like foliage.
  • Bromeliads (Bromeliad spp.) – Evergreen producing flowers in various forms and colors.
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) – Evergreen with airy feathery foliage.

Wherever you decide to plant your jacaranda and regardless of companions, it’s sure to be a showstopper filling the area with non-stop color.

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Happy Planting!

About the author: Jeffrey Douglas is a horticultural hobbyist that loves everything related to plants and gardening. He specializes in gardens and houseplants.

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