The jacaranda tree is a tropical beauty with clusters of fragrant purple trumpet-shaped blooms. In the right climate, it makes an excellent shade or street tree. The foliage of jacaranda consists of fern-like bipinnate compound leaves up to 20 inches long. The tree can be either semi-evergreen or deciduous, depending on the climate. Most of the blooming occurs in late spring to early summer, but in warmer areas, the tree can flower at any time. Only mature trees have flowers, and while you can grow jacaranda in containers (at least temporarily), trees grown indoors typically do not flower.
|Botanical Name||Jacaranda mimosifoila (also Jacaranda mimosa folia)|
|Common Name||Brazilian rosewood, blue jacaranda, blue trumpet tree|
|Plant Type||Deciduous flowering tree|
|Mature Size||25 to 50 feet tall and 15 to 30 feet wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Well-drained, sandy|
|Soil pH||6.0 to 6.8|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Flower Color||Purple, white|
|Hardiness Zones||10 to 11 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Argentina, Bolivia|
How to Grow Jacaranda Trees
In general, jacarandas are a good choice for large outdoor areas in warm climates. They are resistant to pests and diseases and are not prone to notable pest problems. The jacaranda is moderately drought-tolerant but requires watering during dry periods. If the tree is not watered deeply enough, it may not produce enough chlorophyll, causing chlorosis.
For the best blooming, plant the jacaranda in full sun. Small trees can live in light shade if necessary.
The tree will do best in well-draining, moderately sandy soil with a slightly acid pH. It is tolerant of clay, loam, and sand but should not be planted in wet soil. Make sure the soil drains properly, or mushroom root rot may develop.
As a general rule, water your jacaranda tree when the top 3 inches of soil has dried. These trees need consistent moisture throughout the year and often require additional watering during periods of high heat and/or dryness.
Temperature and Humidity
Some jacarandas can be tolerant of occasional cold (as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit), but generally, this species does not thrive in climates with frequent freezing temperatures. They like a lot of sun and humidity but they are vulnerable to trunk scald in areas with high temperatures.
You can feed a jacaranda 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 grass under the tree, chances are the tree is getting a lot of nitrogen already.
Propagating Jacaranda Trees
The fruit of the jacaranda is a dry round brown pod that is 1 to 3 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 seed should sprout in about two weeks. Transplant the seedlings after about eight months of growth.
Growing in Containers
Jacarandas can be grown indoors, but typically this means they will not flower. Because they must be planted outdoors eventually, they are not good for long-term container planting. When grown indoors, Jacarandas can attract aphids and whiteflies.
Varieties of Jacaranda Trees
There are two notable varieties of Jacaranda mimosifolia:
- J. mimosifolia 'Alba': Also called 'White Christmas','the Alba cultivar is a full-size jacaranda with a similar habit and care needs to the species tree. It can grow to about 40 feet tall and up to 60 feet wide. The foliage can be lusher 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 true 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 zones 9 to 11.
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.
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.
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.