Esperanza, Yellow Elder, Ginger-thomas, Yellow Bells, Mayan Gold, Bells of Fire, Sunset, Jubilee, Trumpet Vine....well this list is endless. For beginning gardeners, the name Tecoma stans and Campsis seem to be freely labeled on every plant in the nursery. It's on vines, shrubs, and ornamentals....maybe even listed as a tree. What's worse is that they all kinda look alike!! The overwhelming question every gardener asks themselves is, "Well which one is the real Tecoma stans?" "Which one is the Trumpet Vine?" "How can you tell the two apart? To add to the complexity of the Bignoniaceae family, there are different varieties of Tecoma stans PLUS on top of that, there is the common yellow bell variety that carries 4-5 different names for the same plant!!! Talk about confusion!! Trumpet Vine falls under a different category completely, but here's a look into these "bell flower" plants.
|Genus: Tecoma stans-This plant has a better habit and doesn't outgrow it's space.|
The common traits for this plant family(Bignoniaceae) are the bell shaped flowers and their love of the intense heat and sun during our summer. All of these plants are hummingbird magnets. However, some of the hybrids or plants can be invasive and weedy like the Campsis or Trumpet Vine. Some have a better shrub habit while others will quickly outgrow their space and crawl into places you won't want the plant to grow. We have several that got behind wires and electrical outlets at El Presidio. Today I am still pulling runners out of planters of the Trumpet Vine. It can be a very aggressive plant. Here is a quick read on the description of the Tecoma stans. "Yellow Trumpetbush is an attractive plant that is cultivated as an ornamental. It has sharply-toothed, lance-shaped green leaves and bears large, showy, bright golden yellow trumpet-shaped flowers. It is drought-tolerant and grows well in warm climates. The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The plant produces pods containing yellow seeds with papery wings. The plant is desirable fodder when it grows in fields grazed by livestock. Yellow Trumpetbush is a ruderal species, readily colonizing disturbed, rocky, sandy, and cleared land and occasionally becoming an invasive weed. This particular group of plants aren't a weedy issue in Tucson. Check out the plant pic below...that's the one you need to watch out for......Genus: Campsis-Can grow out of control in Tucson and become invasive. It looks the same doesn't it?:)
While winter will kill the Tecoma stans to the ground, it doesn't seem to affect the Trumpet vine in Tucson. It spreads like a weed. It has an attractive dark green leaf with darker and smaller narrow orange flowers that are somewhat similiar to the Tecoma stans. The roots are monsters and will spread if there is disturbed soil. It's still a great plant for hummers and people love this plant, but it gets into everything!! This plant IS invasive. All of these plants are perfect for Tucson and do extremely well. Hopefully this post will clear up any future confusion you may end up with at the gardening center. I know when I first started shopping for these plants, it was an issue for me. They're all part of the same family, but their growth habits are a bit different. Until tomorrow.......