Tecoma stans is a species of flowering perennial shrub in the trumpet vine family, Bignoniaceae. Common names include yellow trumpetbush, yellow bells, yellow elder, ginger-thomas. Tecoma stans is native to the Americas. It extends from the southern United States through Mexico, Central America, and the Antilles to northern Venezuela, and through the Andes mountain range to northern Argentina. It was introduced in southern Africa, India, and Hawaii. Yellow trumpetbush is a ruderal species, readily colonizing disturbed, rocky, sandy, and cleared land and occasionally becoming an invasive weed. It thrives in a wide variety of ecosystems, from high altitude temperate forests and tropical deciduous and evergreen forests, to xerophilous scrub and the intertropical littoral. It quickly colonizes disturbed, rocky, sandy, and cleared fields. The species prefers dry and sunny regions of the coast.
A semi-evergreen shrub that can grow to a small tree, it features sharply toothed, opposite green leaves that are pinnate unpaired, with 3 to 13 serrate, 8 to 10 cm long leaflets. The leaflets, glabrous on both sides, have an elliptical lanceolate blade 2–10 cm long and 1–4 cm wide, with a long acuminate apex and a wedge-shaped base. The margin is finely toothed. The large, showy, golden yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers are in clusters at the branch ends, are bell-shaped-funnel-shaped, five-lobed (with weakly two-lipped), often reddish-veined in the throat and 3.5 to 8.5 cm long. Flowering takes place all year round. The fruits arise from two carpels and are up to 25 cm long, narrow capsules. The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The plant produces pods containing yellow seeds with papery wings. They release many seeds with membranous wings when they open. Tecoma stans reproduces sexually (by anemochory) or asexually.
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3 - 25 feet
6 - 20 feet
5.6 - 8.5
Growing Yellow Bells
How to Grow Yellow Bells From Seed
You can also start yellow bells from seeds you've collected from the plant. To grow this plant from seed, follow these steps:
Collect seed pods from the plant and wait for them to become brown and dry. Then crack open the pods and remove the seeds.
Fill a small pot with rich, well-draining soil. Peat moss or vermiculite work as well.
Lightly cover the seed in the growing medium.
Water the soil, keeping it moist but not soggy.
Keep the pot in a warm area with bright, indirect lighting. Germination should occur in two to three weeks.
How to Get Yellow Bells to Bloom
Yellow bells are known for their bright yellow, trumpet-shaped, lightly fragrant flowers. These reach 3-5 inches long and appear every year from spring to fall.
Yellow bells bloom best in full sun and well-draining soil. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage more blooming and a bushier appearance. Be sure to give this fast-growing shrub plenty of room to branch out, as they do not like to be cramped or grown in small spaces. High phosphorus fertilizer will also help encourage flowering.
Yellow Bells Care
These plants may have a showy appearance, but they're not high-maintenance. In fact, yellow bell shrubs are tolerant of drought, heat, and cold. These shrubs are great choices for perennial or rock gardens and can even be grown in pots or as annuals outside of their growing zones.
The plant's fast growth and thin branches make them susceptible to wind damage, so try to place them in an area where they will be sheltered from high winds. Yellow bells are not often bothered by diseases or pests, though scale may affect this shrub. Small animals enjoy snacking on the seeds while larger animals, such as deer, have been known to graze the foliage.
Yellow bells thrive in full sun but can be grown in partially shaded areas. However, yellow bells grown in partial shade will not grow as tall or as lush as those that receive 6 hours of sunlight or more each day.
Yellow bells are tolerant of many soil conditions, but they do best in rich, slightly moist, well-draining soil. Adding a healthy amount of compost to the soil is an efficient way to ensure adequate draining while providing important nutrients.
Yellow bells prefer dry to slightly moist soil conditions. As a desert plant, yellow bells are drought tolerant and can handle dry spells. Be sure not to overwater, as this can lead to rot problems. Natural rainfall is often enough to keep this plant thriving.
In droughts, yellow bells appreciate some supplemental water. You may need to water plants once or twice a month. During extended droughts, weekly watering may be needed.
Temperature and Humidity
Yellow bells are naturally found in warm climates, such as the Sonoran Desert. They are both heat and cold tolerant but will go dormant in temperatures below freezing. This robust shrub can withstand both droughts and humid climates.
In most cases, these plants don't require additional fertilizer. However, if you notice the plant is slow to grow or bloom, add a well-balanced fertilizer once during the growing season.
Pruning and Propagating Yellow Bells
Annual pruning can help a yellow bells shrub maintain its shape and encourage new healthy growth. Prune in the late winter after the threat of frost. Remove old growth inner branches and cut the old woody growth back. If there is no green wood growth, cut the shrub to the ground. In most cases, it will re-grow quickly in the spring.
Propagating Yellow Bells
Yellow bells are easily propagated through cuttings taken in the spring or summer. To do this, you will need a sharp knife or pair of garden snips, a small pot with drainage holes, a plastic bag, a rubber band, and rich, well-draining soil. Once you have the materials, follow the steps below:
In the spring or summer, use a sharp knife or pair of garden snips to remove a tip cutting that is several inches long.
Bury the cut end into rich, well-draining soil. Moisten the soil.
Cover the cutting with a plastic bag to keep in moisture. Secure the bag around the pot with a rubber band.
Place the cutting in a warm area with bright, indirect lighting.
Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Once there are several inches of new growth, remove the bag and repot into a larger pot, if needed.
Begin hardening off the plant and move it outdoors.
Potting and Repotting Yellow Bells
Yellow bells have a relatively compact size that allows them to grow well in containers. Choose a well-draining pot at least 12 inches wide or larger, depending on the shrub size. Clay pots are a great choice, as these mimic well-draining soil and wick away excess water.
The fast growth of these plants means you will need to repot them more often, since they're likely to outgrow their container size. To do this, gently tip the pot onto its side and tap the outside of the pot to loosen the root system. Slide the plant out and set it into a larger pot. Fill it with well-draining soil, burying the shrub to the same height it was before.
Pest Or Diseases
Yellow trumpet bush isn’t typically prone to serious pests or diseases, but it is recommended to watch out for whiteflies and spider mites when grown indoors. The outdoor plants may get infested with caterpillars.
Use an organic insecticide (neem) to deal with the problem, if it occurs.
The plant attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees and is also a desirable fodder for livestock.
Common Problems With Yellow Bells
Yellow bells are hardy plants that thrive on neglect. They do not often face issues or problems. However, the biggest problem for yellow bell growers is a lack of blooming.
Lack of Blooming
If this plant is struggling to bloom, it could be for numerous reasons. The most common causes are a lack of adequate light, drainage, or space. If you face these problems, here are some steps to take.
For more light, place yellow bells in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. Replant the shrub, or move the container into a more suitable location.
If slow-draining soil conditions are suspected, add sand or another fast-draining material to the soil to allow excess water to drain away.
To avoid a lack of blooming because of space, plant these shrubs 4 to 6 feet apart. For potted plants, you may need to move the shrub to a larger pot as they do not like to be root bound.
Benefits of Yellow Bells
Medicinally active compounds in this plant have been known to treat stomach pains, and be used as a diuretic
Leaf infusion can be taken orally for diabetes and stomach pains.
Strong leaf and root decoction is taken orally as a diuretic, to treat syphilis or for intestinal worms.
South America and Latin America used traditionally for reducing blood glucose.
Leaves, barks and roots have been used for a variety of purposes in herbal medicine.
Bark shows smooth muscle relaxant, mild cardio-tonic and chloretic activity.
Root of the plant is stated to be a powerful diuretic, vermifuge and tonic.
Grinding of the root of Yellow Elder and lemon juice is reportedly used as an external application and also taken internally in small quantities as a remedy for snake and rat bites.
Yellow Elder is used for treatment of diabetes, digestive problems, and control of yeast infections.
Decoction of plant flowers and bark are used for Stomach pain.
Strong root and leaf decoction of the plant is taken orally to treat Syphilis and Intestinal worms.
The herb lowers the Blood pressure.
It can be taken as a tonic to correct stomach ulcers.
Yellow Elder antioxidant properties control depression, drowsiness, and vomiting.
You can use coffee water mixed with the Yellow elder flowers and the bark for stomach pain.
It is used as the main drug for the treatment of diabetes in Mexico and Central America.
Its roots are used as medicine for snake bites and can be mixed in small quantities with lemon juice.
Flowers are used as a diuretic.
Its leaves are used as medicine for piles and pain in Bangladesh.
It is widely used in traditional Mexican medicine, to treat hyperglycemia, gastrointestinal and urinary tract disorders, jaundice, toothaches, headaches, colds, skin infections, and scorpion, snake, and rat bites.
Leaves are used throughout Mexico and Central America for diabetes and urinary disorder control.
Traditionally flowers and bark are used for treatment of various cancers.
Flowers consist of beta carotene and zeaxanthene to treat eye disorder.
The wood is used in rustic architecture like bahareque, for the construction of furniture and canoes, or as firewood or charcoal. It is a medicinal plant used against diabetes and against diseases of the digestive system, among other uses. The plant is desirable fodder when it grows in fields grazed by livestock. The other name of this plant is Stenolobium Stans, it is also called piliya in urdu. It is a very potent anti-venom against cobra venom, used by Pakistani old medicine. It is proved to be better than anti-sera, the paste of this plant's leaves are applied topically on the cobra bite. Its bio-chemicals bind with the cobra venom enzymes thus effectively inhibiting the venom.