Gloriously Messy Jacarandas

A little over a month ago, I received a call from someone who wanted me to inspect his jacaranda tree. The reason I was to make the inspection had to do with the flower buds on his tree, which he was thinking about pruning. I had never heard of someone pruning jacaranda flower buds, but the gentleman was adamant about his desire to do so. He wanted to know how much I would charge to cut all the flower buds off of his tree.
It seems hard to believe, I know, but some people hate jacaranda trees because of the sticky flowers they produce; it’s almost like hating the sun because it can give you sunburn. Have these people never stepped back to marvel at a jacaranda in full bloom?
Certain jacaranda detractors will even concede there is some beauty to behold in a blooming jacaranda tree, but such beauty cannot make up for the mess created by the flowers.
Jacaranda flowers will stain the paint on your car; it is a consequence of living in a sub-tropical climate where the glorious jacaranda grows, unthreatened by the likelihood of a hard frost. Since they stick to the soles of shoes, jacaranda flowers may also end up on the living room carpet. But these inconveniences seem to be a small price to pay for the miraculous floral display provided by jacarandas each June.
In Los Angeles, no tree is more breathtaking than a jacaranda in full bloom. Its nickname “blue haze tree” is well chosen. An ethereal lavender blue cloud engulfs the majestic canopy – a good 50 feet high and nearly as wide – of mature jacarandas.
Just as jacaranda blooms begin to fade at the end of June, another popular tree – the magnolia – begins to make its flowering presence felt in the Valley landscape.
The southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), an evergreen, is the longest-flowering summer tree. Its fragrant blooms have already begun to appear and will be seen until the fall. The magnolia is best-known as a street and lawn tree, despite the fact that it completely thwarts grass from growing underneath it. To make the ground under a magnolia more attractive, put a thin layer of woody mulch or peat moss between and around the surface roots.
There are plenty of magnolia cultivars, many of which make wonderful container trees. For starters, consider the smaller cultivars, not exceeding 20 feet in height, such as St. Mary, Victoria and Little Gem. These will grow well in containers for years. Boething’s Treeland in Woodland Hills carries a variety of southern magnolia cultivars.

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