Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Friday - March 03, 2006

From: Fellsmere, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care for non-native, invasive Bauhinia variegata
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Fellsmere just south of Melbourne and we have about 5 orchid trees on our property; one is fairly tall, about 20 ft, and the others are about 6 ft tall. My smaller ones have several air plants and moss on the branches and the taller one looks to be growing mostly on one side and doesn't have very good color in it's leaves. I don't know when or how much I can cut back the small guys and my larger one looks like it needs some sort of fertilizer. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

First, I am not sure whether you have Anacacho orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides), native to Texas and Louisiana, or one of the other species of Bauhinia, such as Purple orchid-tree (Bauhinia purpurea) or (Bauhinia variegata), native to Asia. Whichever tree you have, it can take pruning, even hard pruning. Concerning the tree with with poor foliage color, the article on B. purpurea says that it has a "tendency to show nutritional deficiencies, especially potassium" and another article on Bauhinia spp. in general, suggests that the pH of the soil should be below 7.5 for members of the genus to thrive. You might consider having your soil pH and nutrient levels tested through your county Florida Cooperative Extension service office. You might also consider contacting an arborist.

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.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Native vs Non-native Insect Host Plants
March 14, 2013 - My understanding of a host plant is that it is a plant that an insect will lay its eggs on. Is this correct? If this is so then can a cultivar be a host plant for the same insect? I have read Mr. Doug...
view the full question and answer

Most invasive, noxious plant in U.S. from New York City.
November 26, 2012 - I was wondering, what is the most invasive/ noxious plant in the U.S? Thanks in advance.
view the full question and answer

Searching for Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana (copperleaf)
April 06, 2015 - Some species of Acalypha are natives, but the one I'm looking for is Copper Plant or Acalypha amentacea/wilkesiana. Can you give me a source where I can order seed? When I was kid working at a local ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native oleanders
September 28, 2011 - I have an oleander that has become to "leggy". I read the pruning instructions, but where I want to prune, there are not any leaf nodes. Can I trim below at the base, or will I hurt the plant? I ...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Kalanchoe from Belton SC
December 23, 2012 - The leaves on a Kalanchoe that we bought from Logee's has leaves starting to curl. It has been this way since I bought it. It is in a south window, it's cold out so I put the plant inside. Besides c...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.