Magazine article Sunset

Orchids or Butterflies? They're Bauhinias

Magazine article Sunset

Orchids or Butterflies? They're Bauhinias

Article excerpt

These versatile tropical trees produce striking flowers

BAUHINIAS HAVE A luxuriant beauty that evokes the tropics in mild-winter regions of California and the Arizona desert. Species range from evergreen to deciduous and from shrubs to trees and climbers--all with distinctive twin-lobed leaves. Flowers range from purple to orange to white. Bauhinias need sun, warmth, and moderate water; they flower best when grown in wind-sheltered spots in well-drained, semi-fertile soil. Though they thrive in heat, dry heat or drought may cause leaf edges to brown.

Here are the four most widely available bauhinias for a variety of climates and landscape uses.

Hong Kong orchid tree (B. blakeana). Dramatic, fragrant, butterfly-shaped flowers grow about 6 inches wide and bloom profusely in autumn and early winter. Colors range from rose pink to deep maroon and purple, often in the same blossom. The gray-green leaves are partially deciduous when the tree is in flower; sometimes dead leaves hang on the tree. It grows 20 to 25 feet tall. Prune in late winter or early spring as new leaves break out. Zones 13, 19, 21, 23, 24.

Brazilian butterfly tree (B. forficata). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.