The jacaranda tree is a tropical beauty with its clusters of fragrant, purple, trumpet-shaped blooms. In the right climate, it makes an excellent shade or street tree.
- Latin Name: Jacaranda mimosa folia
- Common Names: Jacaranda, Brazilian rosewood, blue jacaranda, blue trumpet tree
- Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones: Zones 9(b)-11
- Size & Shape: This tree grows to a height of anywhere from 5-50' tall and 15-60' wide.
- Exposure: For the best blooming, plant Jacaranda mimosa folia in full sun. Small trees can live in light shade if necessary.
Foliage, Flowers, and Fruit
The foliage of jacaranda are fern-like, bipinnate compound leaves up to 20" long. The tree can be either semi-evergreen or deciduous, depending on the climate. Jacaranda is renowned for its clusters of purple, fragrant, trumpet-shaped blossoms. There are also varieties available with white blossoms. Most of the blooming is in late spring/summer, but in warmer areas, the tree can flower at any time. Only mature trees have flowers; small or young trees and those grown indoors typically do not flower. The fruit is a dry, brown, round pod that is 1-3" 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.
Design and Growing Tips
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. The jacaranda is moderately drought-tolerant but requires watering during dry periods. It does best in well-draining, slightly sandy soil.
In general, jacarandas are a good choice for large outdoor areas in warm climates. They are tolerant to occasional cold down to 20°F but do not thrive in climates with frequent freezing temperatures. They like a lot of sun but are vulnerable to trunkscald in areas with high temperatures. Jacarandas can be grown indoors but, again, they probably will not flower, and they must be planted outdoor eventually, so they are not good for long-term container planting.
Maintenance and Pruning
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 it tends to promote vertical suckers that can distort the tree's shape. Try to remove only broken or diseased branches. Jacaranda leaves, and particularly the flowers, can create a lot of litter when they drop. This makes the tree a poor choice 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 mess.
Pests and Diseases
Jacaranda is generally resistant to pests and diseases and is not prone to notable pest problems. When grown indoors, Jacarandas can attract aphids and whiteflies. Make sure the soil drains properly, or mushroom root rot may develop. If the tree is not watered deeply enough, it may not produce enough chlorophyll and become chlorotic.