How To Grow A Jacaranda Tree

The first time someone sees a jacaranda tree (Jacaranda mimosifolia), they may think they’ve spied something out of a fairy tale. This lovely tree often spans the width of a front yard, and is covered in beautiful lavender purple blooms every spring. Read on to learn how to grow a jacaranda tree if you have the right environment.

Growing jacaranda trees is mostly a matter of having the right environment, as they’re strictly southern trees that thrive in Florida and parts of Texas and California. Gardeners living further north often have success growing jacaranda as a large houseplant, and they have been known to make spectacular bonsai specimens.

Jacaranda Tree Information

Jacarandas are true southern trees, thriving in USDA plant hardiness zones 9b through 11. Jacaranda tree hardiness is tested when the temperature drops below 15 F. (-9 C.), and they do best above the freezing point. They prefer a sandy soil with great drainage, and show off their lavender blooms best when planted in full sun. They grow relatively fast and will get up to 60 feet tall and just as wide. The spreading branches may fill your entire front yard.

How to Plant and Care for a Jacaranda Tree

Choose the spot for your tree wisely. One piece of jacaranda tree information that many nurseries and catalogs don’t share is that when the flowers drop, they cover the ground in a thick layer and must be raked up before they decompose into slime. An afternoon with a rake will do the trick, but this is the reason so many jacarandas are planted as street trees, allowing most of the spent blooms to fall on the street instead of in the yard.

Plant the tree in an open spot with sandy soil and full sun. Keep the soil moist deep down by soaking it with a hose for half an hour, but letting it dry out in between waterings. Care for a jacaranda tree almost always includes pruning. In order to give it the best shape to show off those blooms, smaller branches should be trimmed early in the spring. Clip off suckers that grow vertically and keep one main trunk with some major branches leading off from the middle. Keep excess branches cut, to prevent the weight of the tree from splitting the trunk.

Jacaranda Tree Not Blooming

If your jacaranda tree fails to bloom, check these factors and adjust accordingly:
  1. Age: Depending on how they are grown, jacarandas may bloom for the first time between two and fourteen years after planting. Grafted trees tend to produce their first blooms on the earlier side of this range, while trees grown from seed can take much longer. If your tree is younger than this, patience may be all that is necessary.
  2. Soil fertility: Jacarandas are believed to flower best when they are grown in poor soil. Excessive nitrogen may be the culprit when you have jacaranda flower problems. Nitrogen tends to promote growth of foliage, not flowers, and many plants, including jacaranda species, will fail to bloom or bloom poorly if they are given too much nitrogen fertilizer. Even fertilizer runoff from a nearby lawn can suppress flowering.
  3. Sunlight and temperature: Ideal jacaranda flowering conditions include full sun and warm weather. Jacarandas won’t flower well if they receive fewer than six hours of sunlight each day. They also won’t bloom in excessively cool climates, although the trees might appear to be healthy.
  4. Moisture: Jacarandas tend to produce more flowers during droughts, and they do better in sandy, well-draining soil. Be sure not to overwater your jacaranda.
  5. Wind: Some gardeners believe that salty ocean breezes can harm a jacaranda and suppress flowering. Protecting your jacaranda or planting it in a spot where it won’t be exposed to wind could help it flower.

Despite all this, sometimes no cause can be found for a jacaranda that refuses to bloom. Some gardeners swear by more unusual strategies to coax these trees into bloom, such as hitting the trunk with a stick each year. If yours doesn’t seem to respond no matter what you do, don’t worry. It might decide, for reasons of its own, that next year is the right time to flower.

You may need:

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  • Organic Saucer Magnolia Seeds (Magnolia × Soulangeana)

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