In Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, blooming jacaranda trees announce the coming of spring.
This visually stunning tree can grow up to 100 feet tall, but most top out between 25 and 50 feet. Early growth is fast, but mature trees grow more slowly. Although some jacarandas exhibit an upright pattern, usually the branches are long and spreading, creating a wide and open crown. The bark is silvery gray to almost black and the lacy, fern-like foliage is bright green and abundant, providing plenty of filtered shade. In the spring, the jacaranda produces masses of pale blue to lavender flowers that transform the crown into a pastel cloud of blossoms.
Despite its delicate appearance, the jacaranda is a sturdy tree. Jacarandas grow quickly in almost any well-drained soil. They are drought resistant once established, and although they thrive in summer sun they also tolerate isolated periods of cold weather or an occasional frost. Young trees may need selective pruning to develop a strong central trunk. Jacarandas show better color when amended with organic mulch, but keep mulch away from the trunk to prevent rotting.
Jacarandas are most often planted in rows as street trees, where the crowns grow together to create colorful canopies, or in parks or large open areas where they have plenty of room to spread. The fallen blossoms are slightly sticky and sometimes considered a nuisance, especially when they drop on parked cars below. To avoid this problem, plant the jacaranda as a shade tree in an open lawn.
On paper at least, magnolias look like the wrong tree for Los Angeles. A native of the Southeastern US, this woodland tree is fond of rich, organic soils and cool, shady glades. Yet,...
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...ing is needed to create a strong central trunk and regularly thereafter to remove hanging branches that may interfere with pedestrian or street traffic. This tree prefers full sun but will grow in scattered shade. Somewhat tender to cold temperatures, the Hong Kong orchid does well in sheltered locations and will not thrive in mountain or high desert settings. Unlike other varieties of orchid tree, the Hong Kong doesn’t produce masses of huge seed pods, making litter less of a problem with this tree. Drought resistant once established, the Hong Kong orchid tree will also accept moderate levels of aerosol salt.
An outstanding specimen tree, the Hong Kong orchid is approved for street use in many Southern California communities. Use it in among smaller tropicals or shrubs to create a focal point or lawn island, or as the flamboyant centerpiece in a tropical garden.
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