544 Tabebuia heterophyllaCommon Names: pink trumpet tree, pink tab Family: Bignoniaceae (bignonia Family)
This little tree impressed me the first time I encountered it on a stroll through Orlando's Leu Gardens. Although not in bloom at the time, it's silvery gray bark, attractive foliage and pleasing form caused me to take notice. But I wasn't charmed enough to stomp through a flower bed to take a look at it's identification tag so this tree remained a stranger to me. That is until one March when I rounded a corner and was startled by the sight of my stranger transformed into an explosion of pink perfectly presented against a cobalt blue spring sky. I (carefully) dashed through the bed, grabbed the ID tag and made the acquaintance of the fabulous pink trumpet tree, Tabebuia heterophylla!
One of several Tabebuias grown in Florida, pink trumpet is a semi-deciduous tropical tree that grows to an ultimate height of 50 ft (15.2 m). It tends to assume a narrow pyramid or dome shape. The 3 in (7.6 cm) trumpet flowers are borne in clusters held at the ends of branches. Very ornamental palmate compound leaves are composed of unequally sized leaflets that emerge after the tree flowers.
The botanical reference Hortus Third indicates that there are over 100 species in the genus Tabebuia, all of which are native to the American tropics. Pink trumpet tree is native to the islands of the West Indies. It and related species, such as the silver trumpet tree, are very popular landscape plants in south Florida and other frostfree, humid climates.
CultureWill grow in many types of soil, from wet to dry, as long as it is well drained. Fertilize twice a year in spring and summer. Light: Full sun. Moisture: Provide good drainage. Will tolerate short periods of drought once established. Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 11. This is a tropical tree that is damaged by frost. The tree in the photograph is growing in Central Florida (Zone 9) where it has become a popular landscape item. By planting the tree in a protected location (live oaks shield northern exposure) the range of this beauty can be extended. Propagation: Propagated by seeds obtained from the large 12 in (30.5 cm) pods. Selected varieties are available that are grafted on to seedling stock.
A perfect tree for small yards and patio areas that will not grow out of scale. Use in informal plantings mixed with evergreens or as lawn highlight (same color as pink plastic flamingos but even more tropical!) Pink tab is perfect for street planting and traffic islands where its durability is appreciated by maintenance workers and it's beauty provides interest and diversion to stressed-out South Florida motorists as they're stuck in gridlock.
Spectacularly flamboyant when in bloom, pink trumpet tree is an otherwise understated beauty that requires little maintenance and is not bothered by pests.
Jack Scheper 04/02/99; updated 2/16/04, 9/22/06, 3/29/11