En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - March 09, 2009

From: Mission, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Transplants
Title: Failure to thrive of non-native Purple Orchid Tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We planted purple orchid tree Texas,zone 9 two weeks ago and all leaves turned brown.My husband used root stimulator with enough water as the instructions said.We took all brown leaves off and now it's bare and needs help.

ANSWER:

Bauhinia variegata, Purple Orchid Tree, or Bauhinia purpurea, also called Purple Orchid Tree are both native to temperate and tropical Asia and therefore out of the range of expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We recommend the use of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being planted. Native plants will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance to thrive. It does sound as though your tree is suffering from transplant shock, and perhaps the root stimulator contributed to that, we are not familiar with the effects of its use. If you want to try treating it as transplant shock, prune off about the upper 1/4 of the tree, now, while it's still relatively cool. Make sure there is very good drainage around the roots, as they cannot tolerate standing in water. Give it a good deep watering about twice a week, and keep your fingers crossed.

Here are a couple of articles about Bauhinia, since we have no information on it in our Native Plant Database.  Floridata  on Bauhinia variegata and the USDA Forest Service on Bauhnia Purpurea.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Liriope spicata for erosion and dust suppression from Bonifay FL
August 16, 2011 - I want to plant Liriope 'spicata'. I know it can be aggressive and that's what I want. We live on dirt road and need something by road for help in erosion and it's also hard to mow this are...
view the full question and answer

Care for some non-native salvias from Austin
November 12, 2012 - Mexican bush sage and Salvia "indigo spires" are both blooming in my Austin beds right now. Once they stop blooming and/or frost gets them, could you tell me by how much they should be cut back? R...
view the full question and answer

Question about non-native false aralia (Schefflera elegantissima)
September 02, 2009 - Hi. I have a False Aralia-8 stalks. Have had for a while and recently it has begun (and for the first time) dropping leaves. The stalks are getting pretty barren. I know the genreal care for the...
view the full question and answer

Prairie remnant threatened by non-native Queen Anne's lace in Dallas
June 09, 2010 - A blackland prairie remnant is being invaded by Queen Ann's Lace. What are the best, least chemical, methods of getting rid of it without damaging the native grasses and wildflowers? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Looking for an apple tree to plant in Austin, TX.
December 08, 2010 - I want to plant an apple tree in my yard that bears fruit and will provide habitat and shade. Are any varieties that will do well in the South Austin area? And do I have to plant two trees to get fru...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center