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PORTLANDIA grandiflora

Image of Portlandia grandiflora

James Burghardt

Family

Rubiaceae

Botanical Name

PORTLANDIA grandiflora

Plant Common Name

Bellflower, Jamaican Tree-lily

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Large, Easter lily-like flowers that smell strongly of vanilla grace the branches of the regal bellflower. This small, shrubby, evergreen tree slowly develops an upright, rounded habit with age. It is not a common tree in its native Jamaica where it exists in rocky limestone woodlands where soils are seasonally dry. Blossoms occur in flushes any time of year and attract moth pollinators.

Newly emerging leaves are blushed pink and turn glossy deep green as they mature. They feel leathery but look lustrous and polished. During warm periods, when soil moisture is ample, branch tips produce long, horizontal, pleated flower buds tinged pink or red. They split open to reveal magnificent, white, trumpet-shaped flowers that resemble lilies. Each bloom has five petal lobes flare open and curl backward. The flowers emit a sweet vanilla-like scent as evening approaches, which lures pollinating moths. After pollination, plump woody pods develop that ripen to black. Each is packed with seeds that easily germinate when fresh from the pod.

Grow bellflower in full sun to bright, dappled shade and moderately fertile, well-drained soil that is alkaline. Keep soil moist from spring to fall and allow it to become dry through the tropical winter season. This small tree is highly drought tolerant and copes well with exposure to salt spray. Use it as an accent tree inland or near the coast in tropical climates. Bellflower will survive light freezes, but its slow growth rate usually prevents any flower production before the next winter sets in.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 13, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    8'-22' / 2.4m - 6.7m (12)

  • Width

    8'-20' / 2.4m - 6.1m (10)

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Caribbean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes