Q: About 7 years ago my son was in the Peace Corps in South Africa. On his return he presented me with a pot with a Jacaranda tree seed. I have placed the tree outside each year from late May until mid-late September. The rest of the year, I have kept the tree in my garage with a small thermostatically-controlled electric heater blowing at the pot from about 3-4 feet away. Food has been nothing but water and whatever it gets from the potting soil. I also have a grow light above the tree.
My questions are as follows: (1) Will this tree ever get to a size to survive year-round outside in this area? (2) I have placed it in the direct sunlight but don’t know if partial shade would be better. (3) When would be the best time to re-pot and prune? (4) The tree seems to do best without any fertilizer. What pH is best for the soil?
A: Shannon Pable replies: “I was able to find information on your Jacaranda Tree on the internet and in some of my hort books. There are 30-45 species of deciduous and evergreen trees from the wet rainforests of tropical Central and South America.
In Rio, the Brazilians pronounce Jacaranda as ‘hakharanda’. One species is the Jacaranda mimosifolia. It is native to Bolivia and Argentina. Grows 50′tall by22-30′wide, blooms twice a year, fast grower, and thrives in full sun. It can only tolerate lows of 41-45 deg F. Since it blooms in early spring and summer and you move it inside for the winter, I would prune after it is finished blooming in the summer.
There is also the Jacaranda jasminoides 6-12′Tall by 4-8′Wide, native to Mexico and Brazil. This too can only tolerate lows of 41-45 deg F. In general, the Jararanda likes rich, moist but very well drained soil. It would not like our heavy clay soil. In
the summer growing months, water freely and fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer.
Here is a link with info on the Jacaranda Tree.
You are doing the right thing by keeping it inside for the cold winter months in Atlanta. Unfortunately, as long as you stay in Atlanta, you will have to continue to pamper it during our winters here.