Originating in China, this well-liked orchid tree now serves as the floral symbol of Hong Kong.
In colder areas, the semi-deciduous tree loses all of its leaves. Such an eye-catching tree ignites your curiosity for Hong Kong Orchid tree pros and cons.
You can’t take your eyes off their purple-red, faintly fragrant flowers blooming in the fall and even in colder winters.
Well, its benefits are far from just about beauty value. More exciting hints, as well as their drawbacks, are worth discovering.
Look no further. We’ll spill the tea for you all!
A Brief Overview of Hong Kong Orchid Trees
The Hong Kong Orchid Tree, which may reach heights of 20-40 feet, is characterized by a broad, circular canopy of huge, grayish-green leaves between 6 and 8 inches in diameter. People also call it Bauhinia x blakeana.
The vast, six-inch blossoms appear in a variety of purple, rose, and pink hues throughout the summer, fall, and early winter, when the garden is typically devoid of color.
This means that, unlike other Orchids, which may become a nuisance in the garden because of the long pods they produce after flowering, these blossoms are sterile and will not produce any offspring.
When it comes to urban landscaping, this Chinese orchid tree is the go-to option.
Pruning is typically necessary for the first few years following propagation to establish a more uniform crown in young Hong Kong orchids owing to their irregular shapes. Other caring tips are available if you scroll down.
Apart from differentiating Bauhinia x blakeana and other Orchids, we also analyze the differences between gardenia and jasmine. Do not skip it!
What Are Hong Kong Orchid Tree Pros and Cons?
This plant adds to your garden a visual appeal with big blossoms and an enjoyable scent. It can also withstand drought and thus effortless to care for and prune.
Still, its gorgeous flowers leave a mess to clean up and demand an outdoor setting.
- Giant flowers and a pleasant aroma
- Attractive when blooming or non-blooming
- Well drought-tolerant
- Do the trick for air purification
- Used as an outdoor plant
- Landscape attributes: used for aesthetic, bouquets, cottage gardens, and showy purposes
- Winter bloomer
- Easy to prune/maintain
- Sound salt-tolerant
- Fast growing
What astounds you first is its fuchsia’s vibrant shades, red accents, and magenta in big orchid-shaped beautiful flowers.
The flower color is drop-dead gorgeous, with long curly-cue pink filaments nested in the orchid tree flower‘s center. You could also enjoy their winter blossoms.
Their dark green leaves combine with such flowers, leaving a space as the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.
It has a naturally spreading crown and slender branches catching the eye from afar. Thus, it’s a good idea to have one in your garden.
The petals terminate in a circular calyx, making them attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
The bright pseudo-orchid flowers have a subtle, pleasant aroma that lingers in the air. Not to mention, the tree does wonders to purify the air—no wonder why it’s like the symbol of Hong Kong, attracting any visitors getting there.
The orchid tree stands out with its fast-growing, salt- and drought-resistant competency. Better yet, it’s pretty simple to care for and prune it.
- Daily clean up blossoms, which are large and messy
- Non-native status
- Always plant non-invasive/hybrid
- Can’t be planted indoor
- Weak wood body
Regarding the Hong Kong orchid tree problems, Blakeana is a sterile hybrid that will not reproduce. Trees in earlier landscapes would set off oodles of seeds, making them invasive and undesirable.
Their massive size makes them outdoor plants rather than indoor ones.
Its wood is naturally weak and susceptible to breaking in storms and other harsh weather.
Also, the wood is less thick, as is the case with all fast-growing trees, than a live oak, which develops more slowly. Do not put roots in a spot where the wind constantly whips about.
Bauhinia x Blakeana History: First Cutting
The story of purple Bauhinia blakeana began when Jean-Marie Delavay, a Catholic missionary belonging to the Paris Foreign Missions, discovered it on Mount Davis in Pok Fu Lam in the 1880s.
In 1908, after being displayed at the Botanical Gardens and Hong Kong Zoological for the very first time, the structure received its formal Latin name – Bauhinia × blakeana – and taxonomic status as a new plant species.
This plant was then introduced worldwide and eventually spread throughout Hong Kong after cuttings were distributed by the Botanical Gardens beginning in 1914.
Nowadays, it’s the official flower in Hong Kong. Tourists worldwide often have the soft spot for the first time seeing such a seductive plant.
How About Hong Kong Orchid Tree Care – 5 Aspects For The Best Care
Light, Soil, And Water
Find some somewhat acidic, sandy, and loamy soil for a healthy development. The soil needs to be evenly wet and drained. In case you need to plant in clay soil, modify it with compost.
It may grow in either direct sunlight or dappled shade. Yet the too-low light levels can affect the Hong Kong orchid.
The plant favors a little wetter over average, loamy soil but still survives well in dryness periods.
Temperature & Humidity
While it thrives in warmer climates, this tree can resist brief exposure to temperatures as low as 22 degrees F, rendering it perfect for use in tropical and subtropical regions.
This tree usually dries out between watering times. Therefore excessive humidity is bad for it, as stated.
Hong Kong Orchid Tree Fertilizer And Pruning
Supply fertilizer to them in the spring, summer, and fall. Mix a simple organic granular fertilizer into the soil’s top few inches. Also, track the forecast to ensure it won’t rain in 3 days (minimum) following application.
This way halts the fertilizer from being carried away rapidly by rain, feeds the tree effectively, and enriches the soil.
Prioritize pruning immature Hong Kong orchid trees frequently as it might develop unevenly. Indeed, consistent trimming will strengthen their framework and produce a uniform crown shape.
Clip the tree’s higher branches, so that pedestrian paths remain unobstructed.
Getting It To Bloom
Over-watering never facilitates the tree to produce healthy blossoms. To ensure the healthy development and more blooms, let the soil around the tree’s trunk dry out between waterings.
Protect Against Diseases
This orchid tree is prone to diseases and pests albeit well resilient species.
Speaking of pest issues, caterpillars eating its leaves, mites causing the blooms to wilt, and borers eating the trunk and branches’ softwood, are the case in point.
Sometimes, leaf spots and leaf scorch may pop up to a lesser extent. The tree may have a propensity for potassium deficiency. Hence, you need to apply consistently the right fertilizer.
Is The Hong Kong Orchid Tree Edible?
Yes. Amazingly, some ordinary purple orchid tree’s parts are deemed edible, like aphids on kale that is safe to eat. It has dietary value since it is related to the legume family.
For example, their flowers are widely edible in dishes such as pickles, salads, chutneys, and more worldwide, but mainly in Nepal and India.
Are They Toxic For Humans, Dogs, And Cats?
No. The tree’s components are safe for people, cats, and dogs to consume with no allergic reactions.
The ASPCA does not put them on its list of toxic plants. The absence of seed pods in the cultivar may make it a good choice for allergy sufferers. No worries if your pets wander off and scrunch the tree’s flowers or leaves.
Is It Possible To Grow Bauhinia x Blakeana In A Plant Container?
Yes. You can start them out in pots for a year or thereabouts, but because of their fast growth rate, it’s preferable to transfer them to the ground when they’re less than 5 feet tall.
How Quick Do Bauhinia x Blakeana Trees Grow?
These trees may gain up to 24 inches of height annually, making them among the fastest-growing species worldwide. Pruning them in their early years is vital to keep their form as they mature.
Does A Hong Kong Orchid Tree Lose Its Leaves?
Yes. Despite being evergreen, these trees may shed their leaves during harsh winters.
The cold, most excellent zones for this tree are Zone 10 and the milder parts of Zone 9B.
This tree, which may reach heights of 30–40 feet, needs a position with full or partial sunlight, good drainage, and lots of space to flourish.
The Bottom Line
So we’ve compiled the Hong Kong Orchid tree pros and cons.
It’s excellent observing large, orchid-shaped blooms in the fuchsia, magenta, and red spectrum. The five unusual petals are crinkled and ruffled, and a cluster of long, curly, pink filaments sits in the flower’s center.
It’s fantastic to have one in the front yard or back garden. Its beauty and peculiar aroma never let you downbeat.
Do not hesitate to plant such a lovely tree in your space and share this good read with other plant lovers!
Thank you for your reading. Hope you enjoy our article and let me know if any inquires.