Bauhinia are a group of over 200 species of tropical and sub tropical plants ranging from small shrubs to medium sized trees. Some species are evergreen and others are deciduous. Full sun to part shade and a moist humus rich soil are best.
B. variegata is one of the more widely offered varieties, also known as the ‘Orchid Tree’ it comes in two forms, one pink flowering and one white flowering.
Reaching around 12m in height although mostly smaller in cultivation, this is a tree that is deciduous during the dry season. A little pruning will keep the tree to a smaller size. Its natural habit is to develop a short trunk and then a spreading canopy.
The name ‘Orchid Tree’ comes from the shape of the flowers.
The colder and or drier the climate the more foliage the plant will drop. A frost free climate is essential.
Bauhinia plants and species for the garden
- Bauhinia galpinii (Red Orchid Bush) is a large scrambling shrub also known as ‘Pride of the Cape’
- Bauhinia blakeana or ‘Hong Kong Orchid Tree’ is a deciduous species growing to around 15m
- Bauhinia purpurea is known as the Hong Kong Orchid Tree, Butterfly Tree or Purple Camel’s Foot and Bauhinia variegata as the Camel’s Foot Tree.