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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.

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

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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!

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Friday - March 13, 2009

From: Deltona, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Low temperature non-native Bauhinia variegata can withstand in Florida
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Bauhinia variegata,I reside in Florida. What is the temp it can withstand in winter? And if it is below freezing, what can be done to protect them from freezing?

ANSWER:

Bauhinia variegata, Purple Orchid Tree is 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.

Since we obviously will have no information on this plant in our Native Plant Database, let us refer you to this Floridata site Bauhinia variegata.  In part, it says that this plant is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, and can withstand temperatures down to 22 deg. The site also says that after a freeze, the leaves may fall off the Bauhinia, but it will probably recover. You can always cover the tree if a more severe freeze is predicted in your part of Florida. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map indicates that Volusia County, Florida, on the eastern Gulf coast, is in Zones 9a (average annual minimum temperature 20 to 25 deg.F) to 9b (25 to 35 deg. F). 

Please note that Bauhinia variegata is listed as a Category 1 invasive species on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's 2005 list of Invasive Species

 

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