This beautiful plant is one of my favorite shrubs in the garden – so much so, that I have three. Yellow bells produce bell-shaped flowers beginning in spring and lasting through the fall months until the first frost.
Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the flowers. The vibrant green foliage and colorful flowers make this shrub a welcome addition to any desert landscape.
Yellow Bells is a large shrub that grows to a height of 4 – 8 ft. and spreads 3 – 8 ft. wide. You can find its native habitat in the Americas. There are two different types; Tecoma stans angustata and Tecoma stans stans. Visually, the most significant difference is in the shape of the leaves. Tecoma stans stans had a broader leaf and are pictured above and below.
Because of its size, this large shrub makes a great backdrop plant. I have used it to screen fences, sheds and also planted it up against the house. Yellow Bells works well as a tall, naturally-shaped hedge. This shrub thrives in full sun to filtered shade. They do best in warm-winter areas but can be successful as a summer annual in colder regions.
This shrub is relatively low-maintenance. It will freeze back in the winter months when temperatures go below 28 degrees F. Since it blooms on current season’s growth, all that is required is to prune back the frost damage in early spring. Seed pods are produced and can be removed if desired, which will extend the bloom period and improve the appearance, (the seed pods do not bother me, and I do not remove mine). After an initial application of slow-release fertilizer when planting Yellow Bells, I have not needed to fertilize further.
**Occasionally, caterpillars will appear but can be easily removed by spraying some BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) which is an organic pesticide.
There are many familiar names for these beautiful shrubs. Tecoma stans angustata is native to the Southwestern US and northern Mexico and goes by the names Arizona yellow bells, yellow bells, and yellow trumpet bush.
Tecoma stans stans are native to Florida, the Caribbean and parts of South America and also goes by the name of yellow bells and sometimes yellow elder. Because of the overlap of familiar names, be sure to purchase plants based on their scientific name.