The Mexican Orchid Tree (Bauhinia mexicana), I planted as a tiny seedling in October 2010 bloomed recently.
Yeah, I think it was worth the wait.
A friend gave me a 4 inch seedling while I was helping with her garden. I knew a little about the plant and that the Mexican Orchid Tree grows well in shade, though it doesn’t get as large, nor blooms as prolifically as in full sun. I dutifully planted the seedling in a dappled shade spot and waited.
The seedling died back during winter. I didn’t expect it to survive because of two very hard freezes and the seedling, while well-mulched, hadn’t much time to establish. The Mexican Orchid Tree reemerged in late spring of 2011. It survived the Summer from Hell (2011) and grew throughout last year, only to die to the ground again during winter, 2012.
Planted in a shady spot, my Mexican Orchid Tree will never become a “tree” for me. It’s an open and airy shrub, with (for now) two main branches. Planted in a garden with Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus), Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior), Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) and assorted shade-tolerant plants,
it adds interesting foliage,
and lovely white blooms which brighten the shady area.
If planted in full sun, the Mexican Orchid Tree grows to 8-12 feet in height with a 6-8 foot spread. Reportedly deer resistant, it’s known as a great butterfly attracting plant, although. I haven’t observed any butterflies on my blooms. I would consider it a xeric plant. I haven’t given any extra water other than the two times/month that is my norm and it’s grown well.
The flowers are beautiful,
and fragrant, too.
Here in Austin, the only two nurseries which regularly carry the Mexican Orchid Tree in stock are Barton Springs Nursery and The Natural Gardener.
Patience is a virtue (so I’m told) and I’m glad that I waited for this lovely addition to my garden.