Back in my college days at Cal Poly Pomona, I took several plant identification courses as part of the educational requirements for Ornamental Horticulture. Two trees from the same genus always stood out for their outstanding floral display and landscape use. Back then, the genus was called Tabebuia, since changed to Handroanthus. The two useful landscape species are Handroanthus impetiginosa,(Pink trumpet tree) and H. chrysotrichus, (Golden trumpet tree).
While taking a walk, I came across a beautiful pink trumpet tree in full bloom. I then started noticing a few other trumpet trees scattered about the neighborhoods in North Park. I’m not to sure why, but in my view, this species is an under utilized ornamental landscape tree. Perhaps due to a slow growth rate, medium appetite for water or its deciduous nature, the species is not heavily promoted by the nursery industry. But it has many beneficial characteristics making it a useful ornamental landscape tree.
The pink trumpet tree requires full sunlight to part shade and grows to approximately 25-feet in height in Southern California. The non-aggressive rooting system makes it a good choice for use in smaller confined planter areas such as a parkway strip. It performs well in the urban environment. Like most trees, it prefers well drained fertile soils however I see this tree flourishing under less than ideal conditions. No noted pests or disease, hardy to 24º F, damaged below 18º F. After spring flowering, it grows a green to brown colored pod.
Unlike the pink trumpet tree, the closely relate golden trumpet tree is a more rapid, larger growing tree. It too is deciduous, and like the pink trumpet, it flowers in the spring with an impressive display of brilliant, fragrant yellow trumpet flowers.
This tree grows to a larger size than the pink trumpet, up to 50-feet tall and similar width. It has a spreading, low canopy that matures into a broad, round-headed or vase shaped crown. It prefers full sun to part shade.
Branch strength is rated as medium to somewhat weak and root growth is more aggressive than the pink trumpet. Unlike the pink trumpet, the golden trumpet tree should not be used in a confined planter are.
Both these trees perform well in our mediterranean climate and their different growth characteristics allow for varied use, one in more confined areas, the other requires more room to grow. Once established, both are relatively drought tolerant.
Hope you find this helpful, let me know if you have any questions!