I think I have a new favorite tree. This is Tecoma stans ‘Yellow Bells.’
Technically, since it doesn’t get taller than 25 or 30 feet, Tecoma stans is a bush. To me, though, 25 feet definitely is a tree, albeit a small tree. Certainly it will never be mistaken for a redwood or sequoia.
I don’t want tall trees on my property since we get 60-70 mph Santa Ana winds out here, and I don’t have the land to plant something a mile away so it doesn’t get toppled onto the house.
Previously, the jacaranda and mimosa were at the top of my list. I have both on my property, and I’m keeping them pruned and shaped into small trees or bushes.
I got Yellow Bells as a little one-gallon plant in June 2018. As you can see from the picture, it likes it out here in the dry desert heat. It seems to be evergreen and ever-blooming.
I chopped it back to three feet in May 2019 and May 2020. The picture is from August 15, 2020. In other words, it grows extraordinarily fast and blooms year-round with no watering beyond what comes down from the sky, and no fertilizer. It seems to be a great dry-garden complement to my cacti & succulents.
The branches/wood seem to be very brittle, so I will keep chopping it back each year to keep it small and bush-like, especially since we do have those Santa Ana winds of 60-70 mph out here in the East San Diego County boondocks.