Pruning Esperanza

Abilene, TX(Zone 7b)

Hey guys. I need some help. I have an Esperanza plant in my yard. I have had this plant for about four years. This thing grows about 10 to 12 feet tall, does not get very wide, maybe has about 7 or 8 shoots. My problem is that it does not bloom until around September. When it does bloom it is gorgeous but when I see these plants in garden centers they are always blooming. So I was wondering if I need to prune this thing back down to a small size and then it will bloom more. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.


Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Leslie, sorry no one came into the thread to help, I personaly dont recognise the plant by name, that might be the problem for others too, so do you have a photograph, a label with some other name that could help, we all have different names for plants where we stay, so more info would let us all help you out. WeeNel.

Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)


There is more than one kind of Esperanza. There is a variety that blooms much earlier and more often, I work in a yard that has one of each. One blooms on and off all summer, they other only in the fall. The one that blooms all summer has to have the old flowers removed and then blooms again very quickly. I would suggest you find one that is blooming now (at a nursery) and plant it.

Abilene, TX(Zone 7b)

I guess I should have called it Yellow Bells, I think that is the other name for it.

And Dale perhaps mine is just a late bloomer. When it does bloom it is spectacular so I cannot complain about that. Actually last year I did buy one that was blooming from the garden center but it did not come back this year. Oh well. Thanks guys.


Marble Falls, TX(Zone 8a)

are you talking about the "Yellow Bell" Esperanza? I have two of these in a front bed, they bloom and then seed where the spent blooms were ...... I cut the seed pods off and it blooms off of a new stem ....

Abilene, TX(Zone 7b)

Hey Jataylor.

I will have to pay attention to the spent blooms, once I get the blooms. As I said I don't even get them until September or so. Luckily we don't get winter here until about January so they do bloom a good bit before they freeze. I think next year, since I cut them all the way to the ground after they freeze back, I am just going to keep the plant small and see what happens. Hopefully I will get longer blooming time.

Thanks guys.


Largo, FL

Planted in full sun, my esperanza blooms profusely pretty much year round with luscious yellow clusters and graceful arching branches. After it blooms seedpods (that look like string beans) appear on tips of branches where the flowers were. I trim off the tips of the branches (just a few inches), removing the pods, and off it goes again into another blooming spree. Have trimmed it back gently after freeze but never to the ground. 7 or 8 shoots (as you describe) seems a little sparse. Would rather let it recover naturally.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Let those of us in Texas help you. Tecoma stans, locally called Esperanza, is native to Southwest Texas; the improved variety, Gold Star, is listed as a Texas Superstar by Texas A&M. You can Google Texas Superstars and find it easily. It is hardy only in zones 9 and up. That means it is always going to freeze to the ground in Abilene, as it does here in Waco. The best thing by far to do is to cut it completely to the ground after the first freeze nips it. Not before that! Occasionally, you will have a winter that will kill the roots and you will have to replace it. In ten years, I've had to do that only once. Whether to mulch over it after you cut it to the ground doesn't seem to matter as far as it surviving the winter. It depends on how severe the winter is. In late spring, it is likely to start coming back. They are late, because they are warm-weather plants. Don't give up on it too early, because it may surprise you. I'd say that in Abilene if it's not resprouting by the first week of May, it's dead. But your chances are good that it will come back bigger and with more branches each year, and every year that it survives means it has a better root system and a better chance to make it through the winter. Mine this year is over 6 feet tall, and absolutely gorgeous. Why yours doesn't start blooming in early summer is somewhat of a mystery- it may be a genetic thing. Or, you may not have Gold Star, the improved variety. Best of luck with one of the best plants for our landscapes.

Katy, TX

Hey guys I live in Katy Texas and I am new to Dave's Garden. I have three Yellow Bells Esperanza in my yard. They get at least 7 to 8 hours of sun. I keep them trimmed to about four feet tall. They are beautiful green and full, but no flowers on any of them. Am I doing something wrong? Should I not be trimming them? I only trim them every five months or so.


Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I would try backing off and pruning just once a year and see if that helps--if they need to be pruned more often than that because of the space they're in I would think about moving them to a different area of your yard where there is room for them to spread out a bit more.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

mama, sounds like you are pruning off potential bloom-bearing stems. Does it go dormant in the winter in Katy? I know your winters are mild. Next year, leave it unpruned from spring to fall and see if it blooms.

Lake in the Hills, IL(Zone 5a)

Smiling at the pruning advice. At my last house, I pruned the NOID bush next to the patio every fall. I skipped one year and that spring discovered it was a very small apple tree variety! Live and learn...


Katy, TX

Thank you all for your advice. Can't tell you how excited I was when I saw your posts. I kept pruning trying to get a three tier look, with the Esperanza ( Yellow Bells) being the middle tier. I am going to stop pruning them and see what happens. Thanks again

New Braunfels, TX

I planted a Yellow Bell Esparanza in May of this year. It is 6 ft. tall and has many shoots, but no flowers. I read all of the posts and didn't really find an answer. I thought about trimming, but wanted to wait. I live in New Braunfels and it is planted to get 6-8 hrs. of sun a day. Would to much water keep it from blooming? Does it need a special fertilizer? Why won' t it bloom?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

You probably just need to be patient--many shrubs won't bloom the first year they're planted (some will even take a couple of years). They will always work on getting their roots established first before spending energy on flowers. So I wouldn't worry if you don't get flowers this year.

College Station, TX

I am in College Station/heaven. So good to find this web site as I have the most gorgeous espranze blooming...bigger every day. question: how can I start a new plant? What kind of cutting should I get etc.

Devine, TX

I live South of San Antonio out in the country near Devine Tx & I planted my Yellow Bell Esperanza behind my home next to my patio. It get mostly full sun. The darn plant GROWS LIKE CRAZY !!!!!!! Most of the time, I don't water it much at all, REALLY!!!
One thing I did not know until I read the info above, is that you can remove the seed pods and get more blooms!! I am going outside right now and take all those darn pod off right now!!!

Does anyone know if you can plant the seed pods to grow more plants???

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

If you want to grow more plants from the seeds, you need to let the pods ripen on the plant first. If they're still green then they're not ripe yet. If you take them off the plant too early, the seeds won't be mature enough yet and they won't sprout. The seeds will be inside of the pods so you'll have to open up the pods and take out the seeds if you want to try and grow new plants from them.

To get more blooms, just removing the seedpods isn't what does it--what the person above did is trim back the tips of the branches, and it's likely that trimming that stimulated some new growth & new blooms, not removing the seedpods. The other technique that works on some plants to stimulate more blooms is to pull off the spent flowers before the seedpods have a chance to form. That being said, this late in the season I don't know if you'll get a lot more blooms anyway, and if you trim and stimulate new growth it'll be more susceptible to frost damage so I'd probably leave things alone for now and let your seedpods ripen.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

I live at 610 and 45 in Houston and I have 3 Esperanzas. Dont know variety, (I stole the seeds from someone's plant years ago, I mean "liberated" chuckle. The only time they are not blooming is around January. I always deadhead the pods. Plants bloom to produce seed. When you send the message that there are "no seeds", the plant blooms in response to that. In Dec 09 mine froze to the ground but came back from the root. I only let mine have one trunk. Other shoots are removed and rooted for giveaway plants.
Leslie, Try giving your plant a drink of Superbloom by Greenlight after it leafs out. If it's the blooming kind, that might give it some encouragement. Here they will grow and bloom in aparking lot median so I dont consider them finicky. Good luck, Cam

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Oh, I forgot to say, "I never prune this plant". I just placed them where I wanted a tall plant.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

The only time my plant ever produced more than one stem is when it froze to the ground. It had never shown any tendency to sucker or form a thicket. I dont know if Esperanza is one, but some plants will not bloom if you allow the suckers to survive.

Midlothian, TX

We live in Midlothian, TX. We have 2 esperanzas about 5 years old of the orange-gold variety (not the dark orange). These have been some of our most enjoyable bushes...lush and loaded with trumpet shaped flower clusters in mid summer well into the fall. They are very full and approximate 8-9 feet tall. The foliage is gorgeous rich green. We pretty much don't do anything to them but prune to just above the ground before winter and, although they are the last to pop up in the late spring or early summer, they never fail us. When a lot of flowers are dying off for the year, not the esperanzas! We planted them next to each other and probably could have been happy with one but we enjoy the two. I would suggest planting in an area to be able to watch the hummingbirds as they love the flowers! This plant gets an A+++++++++ from Midlothian TX. This is last fall's photo.

Thumbnail by AnnieFree
Austin, TX

I live in Austin Tx. I have two Esperanza plants in pots. One of them is just starting to grow and the other one shows no outward signs of life. I tried to pull it up this morning but it held on for dear life so I put it back. I have found that when plants are truly dead they can be pulled up easily. Is this generally true? Have I helped it or killed it by trying to pull upt? I know that I broke several of it's roots. It's still quite cool here so I'll wait. From what I've read above I believe that I have thrown out perfectly healthy plants just because they were late bloomers. One of them was my four year old Esperanza plant that didn't bloom when I thought it should have. I've been judging my potted plants by my neighbor's ground plants that start bearing leaves and blooming long before mine. I am very grateful to everyone who has posted a comment here!!!
Thank You!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Pulling out of the pot easily has nothing to do with whether the plant is alive or dead so I wouldn't use that as your test--it just tells you how well rooted the plant is. You could have a new small plant that you just transplanted and it will pull out really easily even though it's very much alive, or you could have something that's dead but developed a more extensive root system before it died and it won't pull up easily.

You definitely didn't help it by trying to pull it up, but you probably didn't hurt it much either. I'd give it some time--if it suffered some damage over the winter it may be a little slow to come back in the spring but it's too early to give up on it yet. You could try scratching the bark to see if it's green underneath--if it is then it's still alive. Even if it's not green though I'd still give it time--I think esperanzas can send up new shoots from the roots so even if all the top part died it may still come back for you.

Mcallen, TX

I was wondering if this plant is toxic to dogs or cats. Does anyone know??
I'm the owner of a very hungry chihuahua mix!! Thanks!

Wimberley, TX

Will deer eat my Esperanza if I plant it in the yard? Currently I have it in a container in a protected area. I would love to put it in the ground but I have planted many things that were tagged "deer resistant" and they all have been eaten.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

There are no guarantees when it comes to deer--some things are more likely to be eaten than others, but the reality is there's pretty much nothing they absolutely won't eat (that's why things are listed as deer resistant, not deer proof). This article from Texas A&M says esperanza is one that's less likely to be munched But it's not a guarantee, so if your deer seem to be of the less picky variety who will eat things that are supposed to be resistant, then I'd either leave it where it is or else take steps to protect it once it's in the ground (deer repellent, put fencing around it, etc) just to be safe.

Cedar Park, TX

Just wanted to throw in my 2c. Our Esperanza's have been planted for over 3 years. For the 3rd year, they grow up to 7 feet tall, but won't start blooming (slightly) until late September and better as we get into October. This is while I watch all others start blooming in early spring and prolific through the summer. They're getting sun from about 10ish am until sundown. I'm convinced they're more than one type of this plant and that's what I was online searching for. This spring I plan to get one of the already blooming Esperanza's and plant in nearby the others to see if it responds differently.

South Padre Island, TX

I have a Yellow Bell Esperanza that I transplanted in April of 2012 at about a foot tall. It was blooming when I got it and the only time it's quit blooming was late December to mid-February. I've never trimmed it, never taken the seed pods off (the migrating birds in the spring had a field day). It is now over 10' tall, blooms all over it and it is the resting station during the hummingbird wars. I have a feeder about 10' away. Watching those viscious little monsters is hilarious. We have it set up so we can watch from either the dining room or living room. That and the 20' bottle brush tree are so much fun to watch. South Padre Island is a great place to have blooming and seeding plants as we have so many birds migrating through here. If you get tired of birds, there's always spring break.

Geronimo, TX

nvrnvrind & frazicl --
The original, near wild Esperanza does not bloom as well as the newer improved named varieties that are widely available at garden centers now. The bloom differences you see may be as much variety as anything else.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

AnnieFree, thanks so much for that beautiful photo, I've been watching this thread over the time in the hope someone would post a picture, I still don't recognise the plant, it looks similar to some I know but NOT exact, but the colour and lovely flowers made the search worth while in every way.
I have to assume that this plant / tree called Esperanza is only suitable for a hot climate and therefore wont ever survive my climate here in Scotland, but boy, I will have lot's of fun from now on when traveling to warmer climes as we do every winter, I'll keep searching for the real tree and maybe learn even more about it, it's quite a stunner.

Happy gardening and kind Regards.

Geronimo, TX

Definitely a warmer weather shrub. Come visit us in South Texas (it doesn't fair well in North Texas) and we will show you some beauties.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

What an invitation EH !!!!, we normally head over to Sanibel Island Florida, but 2 years ago we had 3 weeks California starting at Huntington beach and travelled along the coastal small towns, so Different from Florida BUT, as far as I'm concerned, sunshine is wonderful no matter where we are visiting as we don't get enough of it here in Bonnie Scotland and in winter it's mostly dark and dreary days,
Thanks for you kind offer, you must do the same here to Scotland as though we moan about the weather here NON stop, we do have wonderful large gardens laid out in the Edwardian days or Victorian, Also several Botanical gardens that all you gardeners over the pond would love a stroll through.
Many happy gardening times and take good care.
Kindest Regards..

South Padre Island, TX

We had a cold snap, nothing near freezing, but the Esperanza shed all its leaves and is now regenerating. Didn't lose a leaf last year, but high 30's don't do well. Oh well, it will come back, I had an almost total freeze-out 3 years ago and everything is back except for the hibiscus I didn't like. My wife was hoping the Croton had died and the Lantana too. I just gave the Lantana away, bring a bucket and a shovel. I'll plant another Plumeria, my neighbor has a beautiful yellow and she says I can take a cutting any time I want. She also has a Yellow Bells Esperanza, hers also shed its leaves and is coming back. I love this place, the only problem is tomatoes do not like the salt air. Peppers do just fine

Cypress, TX

We bought a house with a Yellow bell last September. I read above about planting seeds from the member who literally stole seeds to bloom his tree.
Can someone help me identify which one I should be pruning? (Photo's below) and how to plant the seeds from photo #1.
Laurie in Houston

Thumbnail by Lauried1079 Thumbnail by Lauried1079

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