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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Taking Care of Yellow Bells

Q. Can you tell me the care and fertilizing of Tecoma stans, Yellow Bells?  Mine are looking rather shabby, leaves dropping and lots of what looks like seed pods dangling from branches. What action should I take at this time to invigorate the plant? Any certain fertilizer that I should be using?
Yellow bells

A. I am a proponent of organic type fertilizers, such as quality compost, but you can use a mineral fertilizer like 16-16-16 or 10-5-5 if you like. These mineral fertilizers have a large quantity of some major nutrients but are missing many of the others. If your landscape or garden soil is relatively new, mineral fertilizers usually work okay. But in older soils these mineral fertilizers might not provide all the nutrients plants need.
Yellow bells flowers

If using compost, apply 1/2 cubic foot of compost per plant if they are 1-2 years old. Use 1 cubic foot if 3-5 years old. Use two cubic feet if they are older and bigger. When using mineral fertilizers, the amount to apply depends on the type of fertilizer but it should say how much on the bag.

Yellow Bells can grow to more than 15 feet tall but you can keep them 6 to 10 feet by correct pruning with no problems. Remember, prune from the bottom to control height, not the top of the plant. And don’t use a hedge shears. If you prune it incorrectly, this may remove all the spring flowers. If not sure, prune after they finish blooming this spring. They should flower again in the fall.

Remove seed pods as soon as they appear. This won’t hurt the plant at all. Fertilize them now with mineral fertilizer and again just before they bloom in the fall. Apply compost once a year. Do it now. If you have large rock, apply compost on top of the rock and water it in with a hose. In my opinion, compost gives better results.

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