Purple in the landscape

A small tree covered in pink flowers
The Perfect Small Flowering Tree – The Purple Trumpet Tree

Flowering trees have seasonal blooms that we look forward to every year.   You know it is coming, but once in bloom the colors wake up the landscape like a floral beacon.  The purple trumpet tree – aka – Handroanthus impetiginosus (formerly Tabebuia impetiginosa), started blooming a few weeks ago and has produced quite a nice show of rose-pink to purple trumpet shaped blooms.  Have you seen this tree yet?

When the purple trumpet tree blooms, people notice – we get calls and emails.   This relatively small and nicely shaped tree has rose-pink to purple, trumpet-shaped flowers that appear in late winter and are followed by long seed pods up to eight inches long.  On average, you can expect twenty-one days of premium flowering from this tree.  Growing only to about twenty feet tall, the purple trumpet tree briefly drops its leaves before flowering.  Its dark green leaves have five leaflets and are arranged on open branching that allows for some light penetration to the ground below making it well suited as a lawn tree or parking lot planting.   Unfortunately, purple trumpet trees have low to medium wind resistance – I have seen them blown over by a hurricane.  Proper pruning to establish structurally sound branches is always a good practice and can help this tree better withstand stormy weather.

The purple trumpet tree Is both a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ approved tree, and not a problem species according to the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas.  This small tree is hardy for our area, very drought-tolerant once established and moderate in its ability to tolerate salt conditions.  Make sure to give it a full sun area to produce the best blooms.  You may have to check the larger local nurseries for availability of the purple trumpet tree.   Propagation can be accomplished by seed, cuttings, or layering. Good news – Handroanthus impetiginosus begins to flower at a relatively early age but be patient with specimens grown from seed as it reportedly takes anywhere from three to twenty years for the first flowers to appear.

As you travel around our community and see a purplish-pink manifestation in the landscape, it is likely a purple trumpet tree.  Although it blooms for a fairly short period of time, the visual experience is worth it!  For more information on all types of flowering trees suitable for area, or to ask a question, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer.  Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov. Connect with us on social media. Like us on Facebook @CharlotteCountyExtension and follow us on Instagram @ifascharco.

Gilman, E. F. & Watson, D. G. (2014) Tabebuia impetiginosa: Purple Tabebuia. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions (2024) Trumpet Trees. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design (2022) The University of Florida Extension Services.
UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas. (2023). The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Brown, S.H. (2012) Flowering Shrubs, Vines and Trees for Southwest Florida – PowerPoint.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS – Lee County
Handroanthus impetiginosus (2024) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handroanthus_impetiginosus.
Pink Trumpet Tree (2024) University of Redlands – https://sites.redlands.edu/trees/species-accounts/pinktrumpettree/ .


ralph mitchell
Posted: March 20, 2024

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes
Tags: Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, Flowering, Handroanthus Impetiginosus, Ornamental, Purple Trumpet Tree, Tabebuia Impetiginosa

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