IF you are a fan of orchids, then you will love orchid trees. Where orchids only flower once a year, the trees flower most of the year. Orchids require special care, but orchid trees are hardy, disease-and pest-resistant ornamentals that need little attention in the home garden.
Orchids are often extracted from their rain forest habitats, whereas orchid trees are grown from seeds in nurseries. These are just a few reasons why you’ll love adding orchid trees to your home garden landscaping design. Orchid trees (Bauhinia spp.), also known as Arbol de Orquidias, are originally from India and China – they were brought here by Europeans as decorative trees.
They are members of the family Leguminosae and are related to plants, such as the Jerusalem-thorn, Redbud and the bean.
These trees are easy to identify by their orchid-like flowers with pastel tones of purple, red or white and light green leaves that resemble the print of an ox hoof. The seedpods are flat and about 1 foot long.
The trees reach a height of about 25 feet with many branches and have a crooked trunk with gray bark. Orchid trees are available inleading nurseries and grow wellin most regions of the country. There are several species you can collect.
Bauhinia variegate is popular and produces flowers of pastel purple tones or pure white in the Candida variety. Bauhinia purpurea varies considerably and produces flowers off-season from the rest of the species, while Bauhinia monandra produces flowers with single stamens.
The prized specie is known as the Hong Kong Orchid-tree (Bauhinia blakeana) and bears the largest flowers with rich reddish or rose purple pastel colors during our Verano(summer).
These trees can be planted in full sun areas as freestanding specimens or planted along walls or borders with shrubbery to add interest to the skyline. Other landscapers like to plant one or two trees near the house to add a special touch.
They grow on a wide range of well drained soils, except in salty conditions. Once established they need little care, although additions of organic fertilizer increase their growth rate and blooming.
Young trees may need a weekly watering during the dry season, but once they are well rooted, they require no special irrigation. All in all, you can’t go wrong with planting orchid trees around your home. Until next time, happy gardening!