At a Glance

Jacaranda ~ Jacaranda mimosifolia

Lifespan: Lives for many years and develops into a small tree. If planted outside in subtropical areas is able to develop into a long-lived very larged flowering tree.

Season: Flowers in the spring or summer in its natural environment.

Difficulty quotient: Rather easy, but cannot stand low temperatures. Some of the leaves will drop off each fall.
Size and growth rate: Jacarandas seldom grow taller than about three feet when grown in pots. Outdoors they can grow to 40-50 feet.

Flowering and fragrance: Potted plants won't flower indoors, but plants grown in a greenhouse or in tu sub-tropics will flower yearly. The tree grows wild in warm, frost-free climates, and flowers each year with masses of fragrant, lavender-blue flowers. The seed pods are woody, mahogany-colored and flat. The seeds are similar to a chestnut. They hang on the tree for many months.
Light and temperature: Jacaranda likes warmth and sunshine but cannot stand drafts or temperatures below 62F. It can stand in a sunny window until it gets too big. Afterwards it is best suited to the greenhouse.

Watering and feeding: Plants should be watered regularly. In summer, water liberally and spray the leaves 2-3 times a week. In winter, water more sparingly and donnot feed. From March to September, feed once every 2-3 weeks.
Soil and transplanting: When the plant is well established it should be transplanted each spring. The soil should be rich and well-drained.

Grooming: As soon as the plant has reached teh desired height it can be clipped back. In the wild, this tree usually has broad crown, but it can be shaped and clipped to make it more bushy.

Environment: The plant is well-suited to be a background tree in the greenhouse. It can also decorate the windowsill until it grows too large.

Buying tips: The Jacaranda tree is available in many plant centers in warmer sections of the country. It is also listed in mail order catalogs.

A Native of Brazil

In Argentina, where Jacaranda mimosifolia grows wild, the tree can grow to 50 feet high, with leaves up to 16 inches long. The leaves are pale green, and elegant. They are rather like Mimosa lieaves - finely divided with many small leaflets.

In Southern California, South Africa and in Southern Europe this plant is widely used in parks and avenues. The tree is very attractive, especially when the crown is in full bloom with lots of lavender-blue flowers. The tree is deciduous, but the flowers remain even after the leaves have dropped. The flowers appear in large, open clusters of 40 to 90 individual flowers.

Curious pods
The flat seed pods are quite unique, and remain hanging from the tree all fall and winter. When teh y finally drop, they open and reveaal teh shiny seeds inside. The seed pods are quite decorative in arrangements.

Grown as a potted plant
When grown in a pot, the plant seldom grows taller than about 3 feet. It needs a warm, sunny position with no drafts. It cannot stend temperatures below about 50F. When it gets too big to stand in teh window it can be moved into a greenhouse where it can produce flowers when it is old enough. The tree can be groomed and clipped to keep it in good shape.

Other Varieties
This lovely plant is also available with white and orchid pink flowers. The white form has a longer blooming period but sparser flowers, although the foilage is quite lush.

Propagating by cuttings
Take 5-6 inch cuttings from an immature tree inJune. Stick the cuttings in a container with an ordinary mixture of sand and potting compost. Water teh soil thoroughly and cover teh container with plastic or glass to prevent drying out. The soil temperature should be 70-77F. A propagating box gives the best results. Until the new plants have formed roots they should be kept out of the sun. As soon as growth starts and roots begin to develop, give them more light. After about a month, re-pot into larger pots. For the first 14 days after re-potting, keep the plants in the shade before moving them to more light.

Growing from seed
Jacaranda mimosifolia's seed is tough, and germinates only at high temperatures. Sow the seed about to 1 inch deep in a pot with damp compost mixed with sand. During germination the temperature should be about 77F, and the pot should be placed either in a propagating box or over a radiator. Keep teh soil evenly moist.

You should re-pot in the spring. Moisten the soil and remove the plant from its old pot. Remove some of the old soil from the roots using a stick or a blunt knife. Then set the plant in a larger, well-drained pot. Fill the pot with fresh soil - preferably potting compost mixed with sand.

Your Plant's Health

The lower leaves drop Move the plant to a brighter and cooler position (but not less than 62F).
Jacaranda's leaves turn yellow when the soil is too dry. Water thoroughly but allow it to dry some before re-watering.
Spider Mites like hot, dry conditions. As temperatures rise, increase watering. Mist the foliage during daylight hours.
Aphids suck the sap from the leaves and transmit viruses. Warm, soapy sprays will usually take care of the problem.