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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Failing to thrive of non-native rose bushes in Austin
September 24, 2012 - I live in NW Austin and I have lost one knockout rose bush this summer and it looks like another one is failing. The leaves on a cane turn yellow then brown. I do not see whiteflies or black spots o...
view the full question and answer

Survival of non-native rosemary on sea breeze from Alberta Canada
July 28, 2011 - I read that Rosemary, in some locations, can live on nothing other than the humidity carried by the sea breeze. Is this true?
view the full question and answer

Non-native hylocereus undatus for Austin
February 24, 2012 - Can we plant Hylocereus (Dragon Fruit) here in Austin, TX? We are going to have a large xeriscape bed and want to know what all we can put in it. We are new to Texas so we have no clue what grows here...
view the full question and answer

Short, Natural Evergreen Shrubs for Texas
March 12, 2015 - I am looking for small/dwarf evergreen shrubs that, when mature, will be no larger than three feet tall. If possible I would like shrubs that are graceful and more natural looking rather than “regimen...
view the full question and answer

Arborvitae for house plant from Austin
August 15, 2013 - I am a Northerner transplanted to Austin, TX. While I love Austin it feels like many of the plants & trees I came to love up north won't grow here at all. Could I grow an arborvitae in my home as a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center