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Growing Bauhinia's "Hong Kong Orchid Tree

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Growing Bauhinia x blakeana - Common name "Hong Kong Orchid Tree"

Today I visited our stockist and have bought back some beautiful stock ready for our next landscaping project, I'm wrapped in the quality and cant wait to get the next project started.

I've picked up one of my favourite tree's to grow in the Tropic's, the "Hong Kong Orchid Tree" which I believe originated from China and were once called Sheep's foot tree's due to the leaf shape looking like a sheep's foot. I personally think this tree is far to pretty to be associated with any part of a sheep's foot, Orchid Tree fits perfect! 

The Bauhinia x blakeana is said to be a hybrid between the Bauhinia purpurea and B.variegata and is actually the official emblem of Hong Kong since 1965. It was discovered on the seashore of Hong Kong Island near the ruins of a house by Sir Henry Blake who happened to be enthusiastic botanist. Its said he named the tree after his wife Lady Edith Blake.b2ap3_thumbnail_Seed-pod-Bauhinia.gif

This pretty tree will grow up to 7m- 9m tall and has dainty orchid like flowers, in Darwin we tend to have the magenta colour and can see this tree flower from February right through to November. If you are planting from seed you can expect your Bauhinia to flower from a year to two from when it was a seedling.

Bauhiana trees can be grown in full sun in fertile well draining slightly acidic soil, the tree will produce large flat legume looking pods however the tree is sterile so it wont produce seed pods. The roots are deep and don't like to be transplanted so take care when planting out into your garden. What I like to do is soak the roots in seaweed solution for a few hrs before I transplant this will reduce the shock and give the tree a head start. Its such a hardy tree just a general fertiliser twice a year is all this tree will need, in fact I have one tree that I must admit I missed fertilising one year and it looked just as gorgeous as the others without the need for a feed. When I do fertilise I just use a slow release fertiliser and organic matter such as blood and bone.   

One of the things I love is how adaptable this tree can be, it will withstand the dry seasons with dry spells and tolerate our build up we have used this tree also in our smaller landscaping projects as well as our larger ones its such a versatile tree. If you're thinking of using this tree in a smaller garden or even a large container be sure to prune it for the first few years so the canopy is shaped and your tree will keep its neat form.  I've read you can even train a Bauhinia as a bonsai which I am keen to try out on one of our commercial oriental properties, and maybe one at home for trial purposes.

Commercial location's and street scapes love this tree also as its evergreen, the tree may drop a few leaves over a month or so but the new leaves are quick to grow and replace bare branches. 

Pest's aren't really a problem as i've never had to deal with any at our place or at any other location's where we have planted the Bauhinia, its said to be free of any serious pest's and diseases. Pest's that have been known to attack but quite rare are borers, caterpillars and mites. As for diseases leaf spot, and leaf scorch may require attention but once again quite rare.





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Guest Monday, 18 February 2019