From:Fellsmere, FL Region: Southeast Topic: Non-Natives Title: Care for non-native, invasive Bauhinia variegata Answered by: Nan Hampton
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.
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
Problems with peonies in Indianola, WA May 18, 2009 - My 5 year old peony plant didn't come up. I thought it was dead so I dug it up. I found a clump of thick roots. I separated them, and then realized these were probably the bulbs. It is the middle... view the full question and answer
Problems with non-native althea in White Oak TX June 10, 2011 - I have an althea bush that is 2 years old. I have never had a problem with it before but this year only half of it has leaved out and is blooming. The other half has some very small leaves and very sm... view the full question and answer
Non-native dwarf palm leaves yellowing in Katy TX March 30, 2013 - 1 month ago we planted dwarf palms, the leaves are turning yellow, does this mean we are over watering them? If so how much water do they require? Is there anything we can give them? We also have a fa... view the full question and answer
Problems with non-native semi-dwarf peach tree May 03, 2010 - We live in Marana Arizona and have a semi dwarf peach tree, that is only 6 feet tall and is 3 years old. This year we have about 800 small peaches on it and all of the branches and on the ground. We h... view the full question and answer
Preventing seed production in non-native chinaberry in Yucaipa CA July 04, 2009 - You were just asked about "keeping almonds from producing" I actually found your site to ask how to keep a chinaberry tree from producing its berries. I am considering renting a commercial property ... view the full question and answer