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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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Monday - January 24, 2011

From: Smithville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Trees
Title: Conditions for growing Anacacho Orchid in Smithville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What conditions (soil type, sun/shade, understory? etc.) to grow a healthy Anacacho Orchid tree? And what is the best size tree to plant?

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant ProfileBauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree) does not grow natively anywhere near Bastrop County.

From our Native Plant Database, here are the Growing Conditions for this plant:

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky, limestone soils. Sandy, sandy loam, medium loam, limestone-based
Conditions Comments: Does best when planted on the south side of a building, protected from winter winds.

From the Texas A&M Native Plant Database, here is an article on the Anacacho Orchid tree with still more information and pictures.

We would suggest you get your plant in the ground soon, as most woody plants are semi-dormant now and the chance of damaging the tree in transplanting is less. However, please note that this is a desert tree, and it needs good drainage for its roots. In clay soils, any water applied to the tree (and it does need watering in its early years) will tend to stand on the roots of the tree, with the danger of rotting. Prepare that hole for your tree by mixing in a good amount of compost before planting. Dig a larger hole than you need for your tree roots and, since this tree will grow fairly rapidly after the first year, we think it best to plant a smaller tree. After it is planted, mulch it with shredded bark mulch, but not up against the trunk of the tree. Watering should be done by sticking the hose in the ground and letting it run in a slow dribble. The compost in the soil will help drainage and assist the tiny rootlets in reaching nutrients in the soil. The mulch will not only protect the roots from extreme heat and cold but will decompose to continue amending the soil.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bauhinia lunarioides


Bauhinia lunarioides


Bauhinia lunarioides

 

 

 

 

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