Contact Us Host an Event 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
Not Yet Rated

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

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Northern Catalpa Tree Doing Poorly
July 02, 2014 - One of our Northern Catalpa trees appears to be dying. It is about 28 feet tall and this year only about 1/3 of it is producing leaves. It is next to our largest Catalpa tree (about 65 feet tall and a...
view the full question and answer

Dead woody plants in wildlife garden in Austin
March 02, 2011 - I am an enthusiastic and pretty successful wildlife gardener, have studied my Wasowski "Bible", but I can't get any evergreens established in my yard! We live on blackland clay, which I amend with ...
view the full question and answer

Willows native to Wisconsin
July 01, 2005 - I have a small garden center in the far northern reaches of Wisconsin....and I specialize in native varieties for up here. I also help folks with lake shore restoration and preservation. There was...
view the full question and answer

Controlling live oak suckers in Florida
July 20, 2014 - How do I kill emerging live oak sprouts coming from mature tree root system
view the full question and answer

Patio materials under a native oak trees in Missouri
March 02, 2009 - Is it safe to build a pavestone patio (with gravel sub base, Geo tech 101 fabric and sand bed..around two 50+ year old native oak trees? I know concrete would compact and cause damage to the surface ...
view the full question and answer

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