The yellow elder

Published July 15, 1995|Updated Oct. 4, 2005

PLANT: Tecoma stans, earlier classified as Stenolobium stans, but commonly called yellow elder.

ORIGIN: Native to Caribbean and possibly Florida's southernmost tip.

CHARACTERISTICS: This fast-growing tropical shrub must be pruned often to become a small tree, reaching 15 feet. Showy, bright yellow flowers shaped like trumpets may appear year-round, with a full display in spring.

GROWING TIPS: Drought-tolerant and moderately salt-tolerant, this evergreen can be grown in a variety of soils. Propagation is by seeds. Flowers are on new growth, so pruning should be done after flowering.

SHOWN: Grown and pruned regularly for about 10 years, protected from cold and wind, at the Vina del Mar home of Lia Cunniff in St. Pete Beach.

_ BETTE SMITH, Times gardening correspondent