The jacaranda tree is a beautiful tropical varietal that boasts clusters of fragrant purple trumpet-shaped blooms. Native to South America, the jacaranda tree makes for an excellent shade (or street) tree, thanks to its fern-like foliage, whose leaves can grow up to 20 inches in length. Typically planted somewhere between fall and early spring, the jacaranda tree can be considered either semi-evergreen or deciduous, depending on the climate it's grown in.
The tree grows quickly—adding up to 10 feet a year in the first few years of its life—and most of the blooming occurs in late spring to early summer (though in warmer areas, the tree can flower at any time). That being said, only mature jacaranda trees have flowers.
|Botanical Name||Jacaranda mimosifoila|
|Common Name||Jacaranda tree, black poui, blue jacaranda|
|Mature Size||25–50 ft. tall, 15–30 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Sandy, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Neutral to acidic|
|Flower Color||Purple, blue-purple|
|Hardiness Zones||10, 11 (USDA)|
|Native Area||South America|
Jacaranda Tree Care
In general, jacaranda trees are a good choice for large outdoor areas in warmer climates. They are resistant to pests and diseases and are moderately drought-tolerant (though they require watering during extended dry periods).
Jacaranda branches are arched, forming a canopy shaped like an upturned umbrella. This, combined with their large size at maturity, makes them a good shade tree. The canopy usually allows diffuse light to pass through, so it's possible to grow grass under the tree. However, be aware that the tree may have large surface roots, which can disturb sidewalks or nearby structures.
Jacaranda leaves, and particularly the flowers, can create a lot of litter when they drop. This makes the tree a poor choice for near pools or large water features. It's also not ideal near driveways, patios, or outdoor recreation areas due to the cleanup maintenance. If the debris isn't swept up quickly, it can rot and result in a slimy, slippery mess.
Though jacaranda trees can be grown indoors, they typically will not flower. Because they must be planted outdoors eventually, they are not good for long-term container planting. Plus, when grown indoors, jacarandas can attract aphids and whiteflies.
For the best blooming, plant your jacaranda tree in a spot that boasts full sun, where it can get at least six to eight hours of rays a day. Smaller jacaranda trees can live in light shade if necessary, but a lack of optimal sunlight may impact the amount and vibrancy of their blooms.
Jacaranda trees will do best in well-draining, moderately sandy soil with a slightly acidic pH level. It's also tolerant of clay and loamy soils, but should not be planted in any mixture that is considered heavy and wet, or one that does not drain well. Water-logged soil can lead to an increased risk of root rot and mushroom root rot.
As a general rule, water your jacaranda tree when the top three inches of soil feels dry to the touch. These trees need consistent moisture throughout the year and often require additional watering during periods of high heat and/or dryness. If your tree is not watered deeply enough, it may not produce enough chlorophyll, causing chlorosis.
Temperature and Humidity
Some jacaranda trees can be tolerant of the occasional cold weather (as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit), but generally, this species does not thrive in climates with frequent freezing temperatures. They like a lot of heat and humidity, but can be vulnerable to trunk scald in areas with constant high temperatures.
Feed your jacaranda tree annually with a compatible tree fertilizer, but be careful not to give it too much nitrogen, which can cause the tree not to flower. If you are fertilizing the grass under the tree, chances are the tree is getting a lot of nitrogen already.
Jacaranda Tree Varieties
There are two notable varieties of jacaranda mimosifolia:
- J. mimosifolia 'Alba': Also called 'White Christmas', the Alba cultivar is a full-size jacaranda tree with a similar habit and care needs to the species tree. It can grow to be about 40 feet tall and up to 60 feet wide. Its foliage is often more lush than that of the species tree, and its blooms may arrive a little earlier, starting in April in some climates.
- J. mimosifolia 'Bonsai Blue': A relatively new dwarf cultivar, 'Bonsai Blue' matures at only 10 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Its flowers are similar to those of the species tree, and it grows in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11.
Propagating Jacaranda Trees
The fruit of the jacaranda tree is a dry round brown pod that is one to three inches wide and typically develops in late summer. To harvest the seeds for replanting, pick the seed pods directly from the tree when they are dry (pods that have fallen to the ground may not contain seeds). Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours, then place the seeds on a bed of soil in seedling containers or pots. Cover them with a thin layer of soil, and keep the soil moist. The seeds should sprout in about two weeks time. You can transplant the seedlings after about eight months of growth.
Pruning Jacaranda Trees
Young jacaranda trees should be pruned to form one central leader (main trunk) for strength and stability. Otherwise, try to avoid pruning your jacaranda because this can force it to grow vertical suckers that can distort the tree's shape. Seasonal pruning should be limited to removing only broken or diseased branches.