Tecoma stans, yellow trumpetbush, yellow bells, yellow elder, ginger Thomas. 30-100 seeds
Tecoma stans is a species of flowering perennial shrub in the trumpet vine family, Bignoniaceae, that is native to the Americas. Common names include yellow trumpetbush, yellow bells, yellow elder, ginger Thomas. Tecoma stans is the official flower of the United States Virgin Islands and the floral emblem of The Bahamas.
Tecoma stans is a semi-evergreen shrub or small tree, growing up to 10 m (30 ft) tall. It features opposite odd-pinnate green leaves, with 3 to 13 serrate, 8- to 10-cm-long leaflets. The leaflets, glabrous on both sides, have a lanceolate blade 2–10 cm long and 1–4 cm wide, with a long acuminate apex and a wedge-shaped base.
The large, showy, golden yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers are in clusters at the ends of branches. The corolla of the flower is bell- to funnel-shaped, five-lobed (weakly two-lipped), often reddish-veined in the throat and is 3.5 to 8.5 cm long. Flowering takes place all year round. The fruits, narrow capsules, arise from two carpels and are up to 25 cm long. A fruit contains many yellow seeds with membranopus wings; when the fruit opens upon ripening, these seed are spread by the wind (anemochory). The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Apart from sexually by seed, Tecoma stans can also be reproduced asexually by stem cuttings.
Tecoma stans is native to the Americas. It extends from the southern United States through Mexico, Central America, and the Antilles to northern Venezuela, and through the Andes mountain range to northern Argentina. It was introduced in southern Africa, India, and Hawaii.
Yellow trumpetbush is a ruderal species, readily colonizing disturbed, rocky, sandy, and cleared land and occasionally becoming an invasive weed. It thrives in a wide variety of ecosystems, from high altitude temperate forests and tropical deciduous and evergreen forests, to xerophilous scrub and the intertropical littoral. It quickly colonizes disturbed, rocky, sandy, and cleared fields. The species prefers dry and sunny regions of the coast.
Tecoma stans is drought-tolerant and grows well in warm climates. It is cultivated as an ornamental. They are grown in many parts of the world for their beautiful flowering, to adorn streets and gardens. It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings.
The wood of Tecoma stans is used in rustic architecture like bahareque, for the construction of furniture and canoes, or as firewood or charcoal. It is a medicinal plant used against diabetes and against diseases of the digestive system, among other uses. The plant is desirable fodder when it grows in fields grazed by livestock.
It is a very potent anti-venom against cobra venom, used by Pakistani old medicine. It is proved to be better than antiserum, the paste of this plant's leaves are applied topically on the cobra bite. Its bio-chemicals bind with the cobra venom enzymes thus effectively inhibiting the venom.
Tecoma stans has invasive potential and occasionally becomes a weed. The species is considered invasive in Africa (especially South Africa), South America, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands. It now presents a significant danger for biodiversity. It competes with local species and can form thick, almost monospecific thickets. 30-100 seeds
Spread the seeds in on paper towel, sprinkle with water, fold and store at 25-30°C. The seeds are light and might fly away when you sprinkle so you can wet the paper first.
Once the seeds germinate prepare the pot or seedling tray with potting medium (I prefer using the one for seeds and cuttings to avoid any kind of contamination and weed growing, optionally you can add perlite). Using plastic tweezer transfer the seeds on soil and cover with plastic (see the pictures!). Open it from time to time to give it some air. Keep moist but not soggy.
Once you see the leaves you can keep the tray open but remember to control soil moisture as it will evaporate much faster.
You can skip the paper towel step and just spread the seeds on already moistened soil, press them gently into the surface and put some medium on top to to cover and keep the seeds moist. But that way the germination percentage might be a bit lower.
When the seedlings grow enough to handle or become too crowded transplant into individual pots. You can start fertilizing the seedling with all purpose fertilizer diluted in twice the amount of water recommended or choose a fertilizer with NPK 6-6-6 and similar, or organic fertilizer like banana peel, worm tea etc.
On its second year you can plant it in its permanent location in sun or semi shade and fertilize the same like your other ornamentals. Young plant will require more water but once established it's drought tolerant and doesn't require much attention. It will start blooming as soon the second year from seeds all summer round and attract beautiful butterflies to your garden.