En EspaŅol

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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 18, 2013

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Planting, Trees
Title: Anacacho orchid not leafing out in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


February 2012 I planted 2 4-ft anacacho orchids which did well. This spring, they have yet to leaf out or even bud. There is green, however, when I scratch the stems and some suckers at the bottom of both trees. At least one of the trees briefly got blossoms in December 2012! Could they just be confused about the season? Everything else I planted at the same time has fully leafed out. What should I do?


First, please note from this USDA Plant Profile Map that Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree) is native in Texas only to a few southwestern counties in Texas.  If you follow the plant link to our webpage on that plant, you will note this statement:

"Anacacho orchid tree makes a gorgeous display with its silvery gray bark and fragrant white flowers that resemble orchids. It is a relatively rapid-growing tree after its first year when placed in a favorable location, but should be planted on the south side of buildings in areas with harsh winters." Another website we visited said: 

"Temperature: Avoid western exposures having high reflected light conditions."

We are not sure we would go so far as to say we had a "harsh" winter in Central Texas this past year, but there have been frequent temperature swings. If you did not have it in a sheltered spot as mentioned above, that could have contributed to the problem. Also, this is a plant that needs good drainage, so that water does not stand on its roots. There is so much clay soil in Central Texas, and adding some decomposed granite or even sand to the native soil can help. This article from Aggie Horticulture adds some more insights on the tree.

And, finally, your tree may be suffering from transplant shock, which can show up in a plant anywhere from a few months to 5 years after transplanting. You planted it in cold weather, which we always recommend for woody plants; planting in the heat of summer is frequently fatal. We have no way of knowing for sure, and it probably would not be practical to move the tree to a more favorable location, but we do think your tree has a good chance of pulling out, since it still has a green under-bark layer. Try watering it by pushing the hose down in the soil around it and letting the water drip slowly until the surface is wet. This could help keep from drowning the roots if the soil does not have good drainage. This is a desert plant and should be deep watered like this only about once a month.


From the Image Gallery

Anacacho orchid tree
Bauhinia lunarioides

More Trees Questions

Runaway growth on mountain laurel in Coolidge AZ
July 01, 2010 - I have 2 mountain laurels. They are thriving well. In fact one is growing way too fast. I am growing it as a tree, but the branches are in excess of 6 feet, while the trunk is only 18 or so inches. I ...
view the full question and answer

Browning of Red Western cedars in Medina, OH
April 09, 2009 - I have a row of Red Western Cedars bordering my yard. One week after my lawn people but down spring fertilizer and grub control, they began turning brown. Is there any correlation? If not, what cau...
view the full question and answer

Need to find an alternative to Bradford Pear in the Woodlands, TX
September 18, 2011 - Hello! I am trying to find an alternative tree to a Bradford Pear. I love the seasonal change in these and ordered one, but after the many negative reviews I've read (smell, weakness in branches, mes...
view the full question and answer

Sap of mulberry similar to sap of maple for syrup from Wellman IA
February 23, 2012 - Can the the sap of the mulberry tree be used to make syrup similar to maple Syrup?
view the full question and answer

Hedge in central Texas
June 17, 2009 - Help, my oleanders are dying. I am in need of hedge suggestions- ideal would be quick growing, maybe 8-12 feet at their tallest. I live in Central Texas.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center