5 Great Reasons to Grow an Esperanza Plant (Tacoma stans)

Want a plant that thrives in full sun and blooms through the hot Texas summer? You need some Esperanza plants in your life! Also known as Yellow Bells, the scientific name for this plant is Tecoma stans.

Looking for more native Texas shrubs to add to your yard? You’ve come to the right place! Start by downloading my FREE Native Texas Shrubs PDF. You can take this handy one-pager with you to the plant nursery.

The bright yellow flowers of the Esperanza plant provide a beautiful backdrop in your garden.

This shrub has bright yellow bell-shaped flowers paired with olive green leaves. It is one of the few Texas native ornamental shrubs that is frequently used by San Antonio landscapers. I have one in my garden and love it!

Tecoma stans
My Esperanza plant blooming along with Cenizo, another beautiful Texas native shrub.

5 reasons to grow an Esperanza plant

1) It is drought-tolerant

Esperanza is a great drought tolerant plant. It likes well-drained soils and needs little water once established. It can handle the extreme heat of Texas summers, and is often one of the few plants blooming in landscapes during July and August!

2) Great pollinator plant

The yellow trumpet flower of the Esperanza plant attracts insect pollinators, such as our native American Bumblebee. They crawl right into the bell-shaped blooms to get the nectar and pollen!

Yellow bells
The bright yellow bells of Esperanza are perfect bee fodder!

It is is also a host plant for the Dogface butterfly and Sphinx moth. Check out this Plebeian Sphinx Moth I found munching on my Tacoma stans! It is well camouflaged among the bright green leaves.

Esperanza plant
A beautiful Sphinx moth caterpillar on its host plant, Tecoma stans!

3) Blooms periodically throughout the summer

Often times in the middle of August, everything in San Antonio is looking pretty brown and semi-dead, but not the Esperanza plant. It is often the only thing covered in blooms in late summer!

While Tacoma stans doesn’t have a continuous bloom, they will be covered periodically with yellow flowers from summer through fall.

Esperanza blooms
The Esperanza plant will be covered in yellow flowers multiple times throughout the summer.

4) Fast growing shrub

Esperanza is one of the fast growing plants that behaves well. It has a free flowing look with long stems that reach up to the sun.

Plant a 4 inch transplant in the spring and it will be 4 foot tall by fall in its first growing season! Mature plants typically grow 6-8 feet tall making them great for shrub borders or a beautiful backdrop in your garden.

If you are looking for fast-growing plants for your yard, Esperanza is a great plant to fill in an area quickly.

5) Versatile perennial

Esperanza plants can be container plants or a tall accent plant in a flower garden or landscape bed. It looks nice used in foundational plantings as well. I especially love it paired with purple native plants such as Cenizo and American Beautyberry.

Texas native plants
Pair Esperanza with purple perennials such as American Beautyberry.

What is the native range of Tecoma stans?

Tecoma stans is native to parts of south Texas, west Texas and central Texas. It is also native to the southern parts of New Mexico and Arizona. In fact, it is native to tropical climates in Central America and South America as well! Its native habitat is rocky slopes.

How do you grow Esperanza plant?

Plant Esperanza in full sun for best results. It can handle part shade but will have fewer flowers.

Esperanza tolerates a variety of soil conditions as long as it has good drainage. If you have poor soil, incorporate some organic matter like compost.

This shrub requires minimal maintenance and pruning during the growing season.

An important thing to note: Esperanza plant is a deciduous shrub, not an evergreen shrub! The entire plant will go dormant with the first frost in the winter. It is not dead, it is doing what it is supposed to do! You can cut back the dead plant material to the ground in the late winter, and you will start to see new growth from the ground by late spring.

Esperanza is a great Texas native plant for bees!

Common names of Tecoma stans

A plant only has one scientific name (Tecoma stans), but often can have more than one common name. In addition to Esperanza, Tacoma stans goes by several other common names that relate to its yellow trumpet-shaped flowers:

  • Yellow Elder
  • Yellow Trumpetbush
  • Tecoma Plant
  • Yellow Bignonia
  • Elderflower

Cultivars of Esperanza plants

There are a variety of cultivars for Tecoma stans available at the nursery. A cultivar is a plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding:

To identify a cultivar, look for an additional name on the plant label in parentheses after the scientific name, such as Tecoma stans “Gold Star”. Cultivars you may see include:

  • Gold Star Esperanza
  • Orange Jubilee
  • Bells of Fire
  • Esperanza Chicklet

In general, try to find the straight native species when possible. It tends to offer the most benefits to pollinators.

Download the Free PDF: 10 Native Texas Shrubs

Want more native shrub ideas? I created a handy one-page PDF for you to print and take with you to the plant nursery. It includes a thumbnail photo of 10 native Texas shrubs along with their common and scientific names, size, sun needs and more! Get it here:

Texas shrubs list


  1. Haley, I bought 2 lantanas at Rainbow Gardens, Salsa an Dallas Red. I realized they weren’t “right” after I brought them home. I haven’t planted them, and found Texas Lantana at Pollinatives. Should I just destroy them?

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