Lapacho care

Tabebuia rosea in flower

El lapacho is the name given to the magnificent tropical trees of the botanical genus Tabebuia. These plants are native to the intertropical zone of America, with the Caribbean being home to most species.

Its flowering is spectacular. The flowers, which can be of several different colors, come to completely cover the crown, before it is filled with leaves. So if you are a lover of petals, do not hesitate to learn more about the lapacho.

What is the lapacho like?

Tabebuia or Lapacho leaves

The trees known as lapacho are deciduous plants that grow 4 to 10 meters high belonging to the genera Tabebuia and Handroanthus, which are made up of about 70 species native to tropical America. Its leaves are palmately foliolate, with each leaflet having very marked main and secondary veins. The flowers appear grouped in inflorescences in the form of a raceme of yellow, white, lilac, pink or red color. The fruit is a capsule inside which are thin and winged seeds, which have a high germination rate.

Its growth rate is reasonably fast if the weather is good, so They are very interesting plants for gardens since their root system is not invasive..

Main species

The best known are the following:

Tabebuia aurea

View of the Tabebuia aurea

Image - Wikimedia / Haneesh KM

It is a deciduous tree native to South America that reaches a height of 8 meters. It produces bright yellow flowers, with a diameter of 6,5 centimeters.

Tabebuia avellanedae / Handroanthus impetiginosus

View of the pink lapacho

Image - Wikimedia / mauroguanandi

Known as pink lapacho, is a native tree of Mexico and South America. Reaches a height of 30 meters, and produces pink flowers of 4-5 centimeters.

Tabebuia chrysantha / Handroanthus chrysanthus

View of the Tabebuia chrysantha

Image - Wikimedia / Veronidae

Known as guayacán, yellow guayacán, araguaney, yellow oak (not to be confused with the trees of temperate climates of the Quercus genus), or tajibo, it is a deciduous tree native to the American intertropical zone. Reaches a height of 5 to 8 meters, and produces yellow flowers of 5 to 12 centimeters.

Tabebuia chrysotricha

View of the golden Tabebuia

Image - Flickr / Veronidae

Known as guayacán, golden trumpet tree or ipé, it is a deciduous tree native mainly to the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil that reaches a height of 7 to 11 meters. It produces yellow flowers.

Tabebuia heterophylla

View of the Tabebuia heterophylla

Image - Wikimedia / mauroguanandi

Known as white oak (again, not to be confused with Quercus), it is a deciduous tree native to the Lesser Rings that reaches a height of up to 18 meters. It produces pink flowers of about 5-6 centimeters.

How do you take care of yourself?

Would you like to have one in your paradise? Follow our advice:

Location

It is a plant that must be outside, in full sun. In order for it to flourish, it needs direct sunlight, ideally all day long.

Land

  • the garden: it is important that it is rich in organic matter and that it has good drainage, as it does not like too much waterlogging.
  • Flower pot: fill with universal substrate, mulch or compost, mixed with 20% perlite or similar.

Irrigation

Generally, must be frequent. In hot, dry climates, it may be necessary to water every 2-3 days in summer, and every 3-4 days the rest of the year. In any case, this may vary, since for example a tree that is in a pot will not need the same frequency of watering as another that is planted in the garden.

So, in case of doubt, do not hesitate to check the humidity, because if it suffers from excessive watering it will be difficult to recover the lapacho.

Subscriber

Tabebuia caraiba in flower

From spring to summer must be paid with organic fertilizers, such as earthworm humus o horse manure. If it is in a pot, use liquid fertilizers following the indications specified on the container; in this way, there will be no risk of overdose.

Pruning

You don't really need it. It will be enough to remove the dry, weak and diseased branches in autumn. Always use pruning tools previously disinfected, clean, and in good condition.

Planting time

If you feel like planting it in the garden, you can do it in spring. In the case that you are growing it in a pot, transplant it also in that season when you see that the roots come out through the drainage holes, or when more than two years have passed since the last transplant.

Multiplication

The lapacho multiplies by seeds in spring, and by cuttings in autumn or spring:

Seeds

To get the seeds to germinate We recommend keeping them in a glass of water for 24 hours, and then sowing them in seedling trays or pots. with holes in its base filled with universal substrate mixed with 30% perlite or similar.

Keeping the substrate humid, and the seedbed outside, they will germinate in about 15 days at a temperature of about 20ºC.

Cuttings

Cut a piece of about 30 centimeters, impregnate its base with homemade rooting agents, and then plant it in a pot with vermiculite previously watered. Put it outside, in a bright area but protected from direct sun.

If everything goes fine, about a month will emit its roots.

Rusticity

It is sensitive to frost and cold. To give you an idea, I had a yellow guayacán that I obtained from seed and as soon as the temperature dropped below 10ºC I began to lose it.

Where to buy?

Outside their places of origin it is difficult to find it, so you have to look for seeds that they sell for example here:

No products found.

Did you know the lapacho?


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  1.   Lilian medina said

    I am a nature lover and I love this little lapacho tree… I have seen it, they sent me some seeds but they did not germinate… why could it be ??? I would like to know your opinion
    Thank you for sharing these articles I find them very interesting

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Lilian.
      It could be because the seeds are already unviable.
      Those produced by this tree quickly spoil.
      A greeting.

    2.    Claudia said

      Hello!!! I am Claudia, and I have a pink lapacho that we planted on September 21, the date that spring begins here in Argentina, I have seen that it has about 3 leaves with the edges as burned, why is this? It is in a soil, red and fertilized earth, it is on the sidewalk of the house, it has sun all day and it is watered every two days, not in large quantities, but to maintain humidity, it is about 30cm and grows fast . I am concerned about your leaves, thank you very much in advance!

      1.    Monica Sanchez said

        Hi Claudia.
        I recommend treating it with a fungicide. At that age, trees are very vulnerable to fungi.

        By the way, when you water, pour plenty of water on it, so that it reaches the roots well. In this way, it will hydrate better.

        Greetings.

      2.    Oscar said

        Hello ... I have two lapachos that the leaves look like wrinkled ... they grow well but it is like they are consuming, what could it be ???

        1.    Monica Sanchez said

          Hello Oscar.

          How long have you had them? Have you checked if they have any plagues?

          These trees are deciduous, that is, they lose their leaves at some time of the year (in their case, being tropical, they do so shortly before or shortly after the onset of the dry season). But they can also be lost to pests, such as mealybugs or caterpillars for example.

          If you want, send us a photo to our Facebook, of the leaves on both sides, and we see.

          Regards!

  2.   Antonio Lujan vazquez said

    Hi Monica, I have a bed in the park in full sun.
    It is 8 years old and still not blooming.
    What can I do, is there any fertilizer to apply.
    Tell me a little, please.
    We also have a 4 year old jacaranda and the same thing happens.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Antonio.
      I recommend adding a 4-5cm thick layer of compost, such as chicken manure (if you can get it fresh, let it dry in the sun for a week). Mix it a little with the soil from the garden, and add them again after two months.
      This way they will have enough nutrients to flourish.
      A greeting.

    2.    Mariela said

      Hello, I have a lapacho, I do not know what it will be, but it is putting its leaves half green and half brown. Can you explain to me what is wrong with it?

      1.    Monica Sanchez said

        Hello Mariela.

        Where are you from? I ask you because if you are in the northern hemisphere, the most likely thing is that it is losing its leaves to go to rest.

        Now if you're in the southern hemisphere, you might be thirsty. How often do you water it?

        Regards!

  3.   Maria Cristina Sanchez said

    Hello Monica: I am raising a lapacho in a pot. The transplant went very well, in rich organic soil and irrigation daily. In my area, San Juan, the heat is intense and dry. We are having an atypical summer with thermal amplitude between 15 and 20 degrees. I would like to know if a covering such as needles might be suitable (I can't get mulching). As it is adding acidity to the earth worries me, I cannot find references on the internet about lapachos and acidic earths. Thanks!!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maria Cristina.
      You can acidify the soil with the irrigation water 🙂. Simply, mix the juice of half a lemon in a liter of water. Sooner rather than later it will acidify.
      You can use pine needles, but do not put too many since they are too acidic, and that would not be good for the plant either.
      A greeting.

  4.   Alejandra ten said

    Hello, I brought some lapacho seeds from Mexico to Peru. The squares will be in November 2017. And now it measures 15 cm and already has buds for white flowers. I have read from others. That it takes 7 years to flower. I have it in a pot. And its trunk is not very strong yet. I would like to have advice. On how to make the trunk straight

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Alejandra.
      How big is the pot? If it is small, 10,5cm in diameter or less, I recommend transplanting it to another that measures about 20cm. So you can grow more and become stronger.
      To make it grow straight, you can put a stake next to it and attach it to it.
      A greeting.

      1.    Cecilia said

        Hi! I have a 4 year old lapacho planted in a pot. In early spring it bloomed for the first time and has been growing well. I water it every two or three days depending on the state of the land. In the last few days I began to notice that its leaves are curling or rolling. What could be happening? Thanks a lot! Very interesting page! Greetings!

        1.    Monica Sanchez said

          Hello cecilia.
          You may have pests, such as mealybugs. I recommend treating it with a broad spectrum insecticide, following the instructions specified on the package.

          By the way, if you have not paid it, it is interesting to do it in spring and summer with universal fertilizer or with guano.

          Greetings.

  5.   Pablo said

    Hello, the blog is great!
    I want to ask some questions
    For now one.
    Can I plant a Lapacho in summer?
    How can I cure it? has leaves with lighter green spots, like little dots
    And some twisted leaves at the tips.
    Should it be cured before planting them? They are 2 meters high.
    How old will it be?
    Well thank you very much

  6.   Jorge Lorenzo Cortez said

    I had two yellow lapachos in front of my house, city of Córdoba, 7 and 5 years old respectively, the youngest fell with the storms and December wind and had no roots (rotten or eaten by bugs) how to take care of the other and the precautions that I should take when I plant another one again ...

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Jorge Lorenzo.
      I recommend you disinfect the soil using the method of solarization, and treat the tree that you have left with a 10% Cypermethrin, which is a soil insecticide.
      A greeting.

  7.   Lorena said

    I have a little lapacho tree, here we call it matilisguate. It is potted and already measures 50cm. I want to transplant it to my backyard but I want to know about its roots. Are they invasive?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Lorena.
      The lapacho has deep roots, and does not usually cause problems. Even so, it is advisable to plant it at a distance of at least 4 meters from the house, floors, pipes, etc., just in case.
      A greeting.

  8.   Aleco said

    Hello good. Blog is great. I learned a lot.
    But the fact is that a few days ago a friend asked me what could be happening with his lapacho.
    It is about 3 meters tall (I don't know how old it would be). The stem is wide the diameter like a normal kitchen glass. And the leaves have small black spots of a circular shape on the upper side and on the underside. Ah. The stem is straight but it kind of grew round scabs about the size of a coin. Ah the soil is somewhat clayey but I think that a few meters from the stem, there was an old drain.
    I don't know what it could be. If someone could help me? From already thank you very much!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Aleco.
      It has all the earmarks of being a fungal attack.
      It is important to treat it with a copper-based fungicide following the instructions specified on the package.
      A greeting.

  9.   Fabian said

    Hello, I am from Uruguay, the temperatures here are 2 degrees in winter and 35 degrees in summer, I planted a yellow lapacho and a lilac one, 50 cm long and the yellow one in summer did not grow much and died in winter and the lilac one in summer It grows much faster and but the winter I can't stand it, they were the only ones I planted, but I'm going to keep trying until I get them to grow up hahaha now I leave them in pots until next spring and in the winter I'm going to put them in a shed in the nights and I take them out in the day, my question would be, should I leave them in pots until they reach a larger size? Or should I plant it at the outset of winter and fertilize the soil well?

  10.   Beto said

    Good Morning.
    They gave me a potted lapacho about a meter high. I would like to know which is the best moon phase to transplant it.
    Thank you very much in advance

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello, Beto.
      The best moon phase is when it is Growing, since the sap is concentrated mainly in the aerial part and not so much in the roots.
      A greeting.

  11.   JOSE LUIS from Francisco said

    Hello Monica,

    I live in Barcelona and I'm looking for a tabebuia chrysantha bonsai (Araguaney, as my wife calls it).

    Could you tell me where I could buy one? (In Spain or Europe)

    Thank you very much,
    regards

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Jose Luis
      I'm not sorry. I have no idea. Anyway I tell you that it is a very tropical tree.
      I had one - I am in the south of Mallorca, minimum temperature of -1ºC - and it did not survive.
      But if you still want to try, on ebay they usually sell seeds.
      Regards and good luck.

  12.   Pamela said

    Hello, very good blog. I have a doubt. Two years ago I planted a lapacho on the sidewalk of my house but now I want to transplant it to the backyard since there are cables on top of it and it can make it difficult when it grows more. I can do it? And how do I do it, I am afraid of damaging the roots.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Pamela.
      We are glad that you like the blog.
      You can do it in late winter (or the dry season, if you live in a climate without seasons). But you have to make deep trenches - about 50cm - at a distance of 30cm from the trunk and carefully extract it with a strip (it is a kind of shovel but with a straight blade).
      A greeting.

  13.   Cesar Diaz said

    Hi Monica, I am new to gardening, I got pink lapacho seeds and germinated them together with my wife and daughter, now they are about a month old and since then I had not exposed them directly to the sun but today I took them out in the sun and noticed that the leaves fell as if he had become sad. My question is, what recommendations do you give me so that we can get this little tree?
    Thank you very much in advance and congratulations on your blog. I hope you can help me.
    Greetings from Jalisco, Mexico.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Cesar.
      You have to put it in semi-shade, and gradually expose it to the sun, starting in autumn (or when it no longer hits so hard). You leave it the first week in the sun for 1 hour every day, the following week 2 hours ... and so on progressively until you leave it all day.

      If you see that the leaves are burning, leave it less time.

      A greeting.

  14.   Alicia villegas said

    Hello, I live in San Luis, I have two yellow lapachos, the first year the ice cream dried them to the roots, I watered the roots and they grew taller and more branched again, I covered the leaves with nylon but the wind took it and today it has the leaves burned by frost. I thought that I should prune it and leave a single log and cover it with nylon, do you think that is correct?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Alicia.
      Yes, it is highly recommended. This way you will be protected.
      A greeting.

  15.   Cristian said

    Hello. I have a yellow one planted in 2014 (it was about 2 meters tall at the time). In 2016 it flourished and gave me 3 beans full of seeds. and in 2017 when I was starting with the first shoots (end of September) a slight frost fell and I dried it. I was lucky that 3 outbreaks appeared over the months (approximately November). I chose the best one and it grew at an impressive speed. Today he measures 2 meters again. Will I have to wait a long time for it to bloom again? and bear fruit? I clarify that from the first beans I did an experiment with about 20 seeds and more than half germinated. then after many months I wanted to do the same with the ones I had kept in the fridge and it was a total failure.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Cristian.
      No, I don't think you have to wait long for it to bear flowers and fruit. Maybe 3 years at the most.
      A greeting.

  16.   valerian rabuffetti said

    Hello good afternoon, first congratulations, very good proposal, I consult it: I am from Paraná Entre Ríos Argentina, on Saturday I bought a young yellow lapacho of less than 2 meters in a nursery, with a thin trunk and a few branches with some leaves, I made An important well and at the moment of wanting to put it the earth bread broke, quickly in a matter of seconds I put it and covered it with good earth and immediately I gave it plenty of water, a lot of water. A few days passed and today Tuesday, he woke up with the sad leaves off, I watered him again with plenty of water, I will thank you for telling me the steps to follow to take care of him and make him grow healthy, thank you very much greetings, atte

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Valeriano.
      Now it's time to be patient.
      Water it 2 or 3 times a week.
      A greeting.

  17.   Daniel said

    Hello. I would like to know if I can plant a branch of pink lapacho already in bloom at this time. And if possible, what recommendations could you give me.
    Thank you very much.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Daniel.
      It can be multiplied by cuttings in late winter, before it resumes growth.
      A greeting.

  18.   Cristian GONZALEZ ROVELLI said

    Hello. I am from Formosa capital and this year I have obtained seeds of lapachos, white pink and yellow, in addition to Jacaranda (which is Lila)
    I am very excited about making them germinate. My question is:
    How far apart do I have to plant them for them to develop properly?
    The minimum distance from the house is 4 meters. I plan to plant them to the west of the field to protect the house from the rays of the setting sun.
    Thank you very much for your answer

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Cristian.
      Nice choice 🙂
      Well, leave a distance of at least three meters between them so that they form a kind of plant wall, or 5m or more if you want to be able to contemplate them in all their splendor.
      A greeting.

  19.   ivana said

    Hello Monica ! I love your blog. I am from Mar del Plata, I have a yellow lapacho, it will be 2 and a half meters, I bought it a little big, I do not know its age, three seasons before spring, it gave me flowers, this year I was prepared to do it and it stayed that way until November, I fix this still green .. I was three months with a loss of water .. could that affect you? it will bloom again I suffer every time I see it .. thanks greetings

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Ivana.
      Yes, if the tree had already adapted to a series of conditions maintained for a few years and then runs out of any of them, yes, it has a hard time.
      But do not worry: if it is green it will recover.
      A greeting.

  20.   Roberto Attias (i Solé) said

    Good afternoon.
    I have read your comments and I find them interesting.
    I need to know the growth time of a lapacho and how long it takes to start giving useful shade. From already thank you very much. Greetings

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Roberto.
      I'm sorry, I can't tell you because I only had a lapacho once, taken from seed and it died in winter from the cold.
      With the right conditions I imagine it will grow at a rate of 30-40cm per year.
      A greeting.

  21.   Wally said

    Hi, by chance you have an idea because it blooms before the leaves sprout, I mean what advantage it gives evolutionarily. Greetings

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Wally.
      I'm not sorry. Few trees do so. The only thing I can think of is that, since I don't have the leaves yet, the flowers are much more visible to the pollinators. But I can't tell you exactly what the evolutionary advantage of blooming before leaf budding is. 🙁
      A greeting.

  22.   Maria Laura said

    Good night. I have a pink lapacho, it is still very young, almost two years old. I live in an area where the summers are intense, almost tropical; I have observed for days that it is sad and its leaves are turning brown. For what is this?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maria Laura.
      You may need more water. When the weather is very hot and dry, they should be watered very often, daily if the soil dries up.
      Greetings.

  23.   CAN FLOWERING BE ACTIVATED WITH SOMETHING? said

    Hello, I am from San José, Uruguay
    I have a 3 year old pink lapacho in a sunny place, it has never flowered and its leaves remain all year round as if

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hey.
      No, he is still very young. You can pay it from time to time, following the instructions specified on the packaging (you never have to add more than what is indicated, because the roots would burn and the tree would die), but apart from that ... we have to wait 🙂
      Greetings.

  24.   Leandro said

    Good morning, good year 2020, I brought a Lapacho bonsai from Buenos Aires to the Netherlands, nobody knows what color still, in January 2019, in a year within my apartment it has grown well to 50 cm, it came very badly, It seemed that it died but with a better substrate and good watering it survived and is healthy.
    What I see is that now it would be going through its first European winter and being in the heating at 20 degrees of the environment I would not be noticing it ... it did not lose a leaf.
    I'm not sure his age, but on the basis I think he was about 4 years old.
    What can I do to stimulate leaf fall?
    Putting it out with winters of -5 I don't think it helps…. on a balcony in a transparent plastic display case?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi leandro.
      Yes, the option you are commenting on is good. Of course, taking it outside would cause irreversible damage, but if you have a balcony, make it a kind of plastic greenhouse and keep it there.

      Although if you have a room with a window where you never put the heat on, it may be safer. You could have it protected with plastic, but keeping it inside the house would control both the plant and the temperature more.

      Greetings and happy new year.

  25.   walter said

    good afternoon, plant 2 in the front spring season. Add soil fertilized with small amounts of fertilizers. they grew very fast reaching almost 2 meters.
    One day I could observe that one of them the leaves were turning yellow to such a point of becoming close. looking at its trunk it is also not green. I just pulled it out to close its roots.
    how much I let him breathe I could say so and see if he is still alive
    What I did notice when making the well was that it poured water. It will be that it does not finish draining .. it rained a lot yesterday ..

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Walter.
      To know if it is alive, I recommend scratching with your fingernail -or a knife, but carefully- a little a young branch. If it is white-creamy or whitish, it is a good sign; but if it's brown, no.

      From what you count, it seems that it has suffered from excess water.

      Regards!

  26.   Luciana Morello said

    I am trying to make bonsai out of lapacho, but it has mealybugs and one that had that infestation of white mealybugs, all the leaves and twigs fell off. What treatment can I do? Because they told me to dilute the tobacco ash and others to dilute common white soap, but none worked.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Luciana.

      You can clean the plant with a small brush soaked in water and mild soap. But if it does not work, then it is best to resort to an anti-cochineal insecticide that they sell in the nurseries.

      Greetings.

  27.   Monica said

    Hello, I have a lapacho and the leaves are ugly. The flower has not been given for 2 years since I have it.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Monica.

      What care do you give it? It is that it is possible that it lacks water if it is watered little. In warm season it is advisable to water 3 or 4 times a week so that it does not dry out. It would also be advisable, if it is in a pot, to plant it in a larger one if it has been in it for more than two years, or in the ground.

      If it is not paid, you can pay it with a universal fertilizer following the instructions on the package.

      Greetings.

  28.   jorge suarez said

    Thank you. It makes me very sad because I feel that it is dying and I don't know how to help it. It began to lose leaves. Thanks for the advice.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Jorge.
      Are you in the northern or southern hemisphere? If you are in the north, it may be that you are losing them because you have cooled down. It is a plant that throws its leaves either when the cold arrives or in the dry season. Everything will depend on the climate in the area.

      But if the climate is tropical, then the problem may be how often it receives water. Has it rained a lot these days or have you watered it a lot? It is important that the soil dries out a bit.

      A greeting.