An ideal patio, specimen, or lawn tree, golden trumpet tree is often seen as a small, 25 to 35 foot tall tree but can reach 50 feet, with a rounded, spreading canopy in a wind-protected area. Sometimes evergreen but most often deciduous, golden trumpet tree has four-inch-long silvery leaves with tan, fuzzy undersides. These leaves drop for a short period in April to May, and it is at this time that the trees put on their heaviest flowering display, the trumpet-shaped, bright yellow blossoms appearing in dense 2.5 to 8 inch long terminal clusters. Some trees produce a small number of flowers sporadically throughout the warm season. The eight-inch-long seed capsules which follow are brown, hairy, and persist on the tree through the winter.
Scientific name: Handroanthus chrysotrichus
Pronunciation: hand-ro-ANTH-us kriss-oh-TRICK-us
Common name(s): Golden trumpet tree
USDA hardiness zones: 10A through 11 (Figure 2)
Origin: native to Brazil and northeast Argentina
UF/IFAS Invasive Assessment Status: not considered a problem species at this time, may be recommended (North, Central, South)
Uses: tree lawn 3–4 feet wide; tree lawn 4–6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; deck or patio; specimen; street without sidewalk; parking lot island < 100 sq ft; parking lot island 100–200 sq ft; parking lot island > 200 sq ft; highway median; container or planter
Height: 25 to 35 feet
Spread: 25 to 35 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: round
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: fast
Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: palmately compound; made up of 5 leaflets
Leaf margin: entire, undulate
Leaf shape: oblong, elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: pinnate, brachidodrome
Leaf type and persistence: semi-evergreen, deciduous
Leaf blade length: leaflets are 4 inches
Leaf color: young leaflets are covered in golden pubescence, then become silvery green on top and tan and pubescent underneath
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy
Flower color: bright yellow
Flower characteristics: very showy; trumpet-shaped and emerges in clusters at the ends of branches
Flowering: early spring, before new leaves emerge
Fruit shape: pod or pod-like, elongated
Fruit length: 4 to 15 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown; covered in gold or reddish pubescence
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem
Fruiting: shortly after flowering
Trunk and Branches
Trunk/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically one trunk; no thorns
Bark: tan, smooth, with shallow vertical fissures when young, becoming rougher and more deeply set with age
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: susceptible to breakage
Current year twig color: brown, green
Current year twig thickness: medium
Wood specific gravity: unknown
Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; alkaline; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate
Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases
Use and Management
Golden trumpet tree is very useful as a median street tree for its vivid flower display, asymmetrical habit and drought tolerance. Once established it can survive on rainfall alone and produce an excellent flower display each year. It also makes a nice tree for planting close to the patio or deck where it will cast a light to medium shade below the canopy.
A native of tropical America, golden trumpet tree can be grown best in full sun on any reasonably fertile soil with moderate moisture. Trees should be protected from frost. Although some will leaf out following a freeze, the tree is often weakened and grows poorly. The wood becomes brittle with age and can break easily in strong winds, so it is not often seen larger than about 30 feet tall. But this should not dampen your desire to plant this wonderful tree because it provides such enjoyment in the meantime.
Trees planted with circling roots often fall over as they mature. Be sure to slice the root ball on container-grown trees.
Propagation is by seed or layering.
Pests and Diseases
No pests or diseases are of major concern.
Koeser, A. K., Hasing, G., Friedman, M. H., and Irving, R. B. 2015. Trees: North & Central Florida. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Koeser, A.K., Friedman, M.H., Hasing, G., Finley, H., Schelb, J. 2017. Trees: South Florida and the Keys. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.