Lapacho (Handroanthus impetiginosus)

View of the lapacho in bloom

Image - Flickr / Mauricio Mercadante

El lapacho it is one of the most beautiful tropical deciduous trees. During the flowering season, its branches sprout a large number of flowers of a magnificent pink color that will beautify all types of gardens, regardless of whether they are small, medium or large.

In addition, can be grown in a pot for years, since it tolerates pruning quite well.

Origin and characteristics of the lapacho

View of the lapacho

Image - Wikimedia / mauroguanandi

Our protagonist is a deciduous tree native to South America, specifically from Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and northern Argentina. It is also found in southern Mexico. It is called lapacho or pink lapacho, and receives the scientific name Handroanthus impetiginosus.

Can reach a maximum height of 30 meters with a trunk up to 50 centimeters thick. It develops a rounded crown, with leaves composed of about five somewhat serrated leaflets, elliptical or lanceolate, which measure 6-8 centimeters.

Blooms in late winter, before the appearance of the foliage. The flowers are tubular, with a pink or purple corolla, sometimes white, and 4 centimeters long. The fruit is a dry capsule that contains a large number of winged seeds.

How do you take care of yourself?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you take care of it as follows:

Location

It is a tree that has to be placed outside, full sun. If you are going to plant it in the garden, it must be at a minimum distance of 5 meters from pipes, paved floors, etc., so that it can grow correctly and without causing damage.

Earth

The pink lapcho is deciduous

Image - Wikimedia / Forest & Kim Starr

It depends on where you are going to be:

  • Flower pot: fill it with universal plant substrate (for sale here!), or mulch (for sale here!).
  • the garden: requires soils rich in organic matter and with good drainage.

Irrigation

It is a plant that does not withstand drought, so it is important to ensure that the soil or substrate is always somewhat damp. Taking this into account, It should be watered an average of 3-4 times a week during the summer, and an average of 2-3 times the rest of the year.

If you have it in a pot, the ideal is not to put any plate under it, because if it is always kept full, the roots will rot.

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From early spring to late summer it must be paid once every fifteen days or monthly. Water is vital, but for you to have better health it is very important to give you 'something to eat' from time to time 😉.

Therefore, do not hesitate to fertilize with mulch, compost, guano, worm castings or other natural products.

Pruning

Late winter, or in autumn if it is a tree that is already blooming, remove the dry, diseased branches and those that are weak. You can also take advantage of to trim the branches that are growing too much.

Use pruning tools previously disinfected with pharmacy rubbing alcohol or a little dishwasher.

Multiplication

The lapacho is expired

Image - Wikimedia / David J. Stang

It is a plant that multiplies by seeds in spring-summer following this step by step:

  1. First, a seedbed is filled (trays with holes, pots, ... or anything else that is waterproof and that can be made with some holes in the base) with universal substrate.
  2. Then, it is watered consciously.
  3. The seeds are then placed on the surface so that they are as far apart as possible.
  4. Afterwards, a little copper or sulfur is sprinkled over them to repel fungi.
  5. Finally, they are covered with a thin layer of substrate, and watered again.

Placing the seedbed outside, in semi-shade or in full sun, will germinate in about two to four weeks if the soil is kept humid and if the temperature is around 20-25ºC.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring.

Rusticity

Does not resist frost. Maybe it can hold down to -1ºC, but only if the temperature rises to 15ºC or faster. So if you live in an area where it is cold, feel free to protect it in a greenhouse or indoors during the winter.

What is?

The pink lapacho is a tree with several uses:

As an ornamental plant

It is a beauty when it is in flower, and when it is not too 😉. It is a perfect tree to have as an isolated specimen, in groups more or less separated or in lineups.

As a medicinal plant

The bark of its trunk used to treat kidney or gallbladder disease, taken in infusions or capsules. Although if you suspect or if you know that you have these health problems, it is highly recommended to consult a professional before taking lapacho.

For its wood

It is greyish brown in color, and although it is difficult to detach, is highly appreciated for parts they will be out in the open.

Where to buy pink lapacho?

Outside its place of origin it can be quite difficult to find. But don't worry, from here you can get some seeds:

What did you think of this tree? Did you know him?


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  1.   Águeda said

    I did not know it ... and I want one in my patio.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Águeda.

      We are not dedicated to buying and selling. But you can still get seeds from here!.

      Greetings.

  2.   German Cesar Pulgar Trujillo said

    I am from Huánuco, a province of Peru, three four years ago they gave me a lapacho plant (20 cm) and I planted it on my farm, it has grown and flowered for the first time, it is spectacular despite the fact that the region's climate is semi-tropical Without marked seasons, I am very grateful to the person who gave it to me, she is Paraguayan and she told me that this plant is the national tree of her country, I would like information regarding whether it is possible to reproduce it by cuttings, Thank you.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Germán César.

      Yes, it can be multiplied by cuttings, in February / March. To do this, you have to cut a branch that measures about 30 centimeters, and impregnate the base with rooting hormones or homemade rooting agents. Then plant it in a pot with soil, water it and place it in a place where it does not get direct sunlight.

      In about 2 months, if all goes well, it will root.

      Luck!

  3.   juan carlos said

    I am in Olavarria and I have a pink lapacho, I am worried because it does not have buds. When do the shoots start? Thanks.

  4.   Ema said

    Very interesting and clarifying your page. I have a question. My lapacho was blooming and beautiful in late winter. At this time it is with the pods but almost very few leaves. I water it once a week. The question is: when the leaves come out in their entirety. I am in Santiago del Estero, ??.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Ema.

      Thanks. Throughout the spring it will remove all its leaves, do not worry.
      I can not specify more because where I live (in Spain) it is difficult to find these trees in cultivation, since the climate of much of the country is somewhat cold for him.

      Regards!