Orange Jubilee (Tecoma alata) is a perennial flowering shrub—you only need to plant them once. The blossoms are bright orange and tubular; they look like elongated bells, which is why some people call them Orange Bells. The flowers attract pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. They grow in plentiful, showy clumps at the end of each branch. The leaves have pointed edges, and their glossy dark green color contrasts deeply against the bright orange clusters. These shrubs are inexpensive, hardy, fast growers, and relatively drought-resistant.
|Growing Orange Jubilee|
|Botanical Name||Tacoma alata|
|Common Name||Orange Jubilee, Orange Bells|
|Plant Type||Perennial flowering shrub|
|Mature Size||15 feet|
|Soil pH||Slightly acidic|
|Bloom Time||May through October|
|Hardiness Zones||8–11, USA|
How to Grow Orange Jubilee
Orange Jubilee is prevalent in the American Southwest as it adapts well to sunny desert climates, will grow in sandy soil, and requires very little water. It can be planted as a border, along walls, in large pots, or as a hedge. It will bloom all summer long and into the early fall, and removing the seed pods will help encourage a more extended flowering period. It can grow up to 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide, making it a practical choice for masking an unsightly air conditioning unit or chain link fence. It's an excellent plant for beginner gardeners as it requires very little maintenance once acclimated to its surroundings.
Orange Jubilee loves the sun and will appreciate over eight hours of sunlight a day, if possible. It can survive when planted in partial shade, but it will not bloom to its full potential. It does not do well when planted in full shade.
Orange Jubilee will grow in most soils, including clay, sand, and rocky ground. It will also grow in loamy locations. The shrub requires well-drained soil and won't survive in sites with standing water, so avoid planting in lower areas of your yard. It prefers slightly acidic soil as the shrub's foliage may experience chlorosis—a condition that causes leaves to turn yellow—in alkaline environments.
Mature Orange Jubilee plants will tolerate dry areas, but they will also grow in moist conditions. Even though they're able to survive periods without rain, they do appreciate occasional watering during a particularly lengthy dry spell. Younger plants require consistent watering and daily misting until their roots establish. If grown in a container or pot, the shrub may need more frequent waterings than if planted in a yard.
Temperature and Humidity
Orange Jubilee can endure dry conditions with very high temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more. It will also thrive in hot areas with high humidity like Florida or Mexico, but use caution when planting as it can grow aggressively in this type of climate. The plant will freeze to the ground if temperatures dip to 28 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
When first planting an Orange Jubilee bush in the spring, you can add tree and shrub fertilizer to encourage new growth and root system development. Additional fertilization may be helpful but is not necessary in most cases since Orange Jubilee is naturally hardy. If you do choose to fertilize your Orange Jubilee plants periodically, make sure you also give water with each application. The fertilizer will not work if applied to dry ground.
Propagating Orange Jubilee
You can reproduce Orange Jubilee with the following techniques:
- By seed: Let the seed pods dry on the plant and then pluck them from the branches. Place the pods in a paper bag to dry over the winter. When the threat of frost has passed, plant the seeds in your yard in a sunny location. Water the seeds daily until they sprout and become established.
- By cuttings: Trim several semi-hardwood branches—they should snap when bent but some green should remain in the stem. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone talc, and then plant them in a container of potting mix. Water and mist the cuttings daily and keep them in an area where they will receive sun. You can choose to keep them inside or outside if it's warm enough. Once they take root, you can transfer the plants to your desired location.
Orange Jubilee is often left natural, allowing the blossoming branches to get long and weepy. If space is a concern and you don't have enough room for the shrub to reach its full height and width, it will need to be trimmed several times over the summer. If consistently pruned, it can remain a more structured bush, but you may need to sacrifice some of the flowers to maintain the shape. You can also train and shape them to look like a tree. If branches become damaged from frost in the winter, Orange Jubilee can be cut back to encourage new growth in the spring.