Plant of the Week
This small tree is a great choice for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. It gets only 4 to 8 feet tall and spreads to as much as 6 feet wide.
With this growth habit, Mexican orchid tree is really more of a shrub, and it looks beautiful when allowed to grow like a shrub, with fuller foliage and more flowers, so be sure to give it plenty of space to spread out.
This plant can be a little frost-tender, so place it in a protected spot near your home, in a southern exposure perhaps, where the walls of your house might radiate a few extra degrees of warmth during the winter.
But even though Mexican orchid tree likes to be a little warmer when it's cold out, it doesn't easily tolerate the intense heat of our full summer sun, so choose a spot that's protected from the harsh afternoon rays, or one that gets bright, filtered light all day.
And if you're a real butterfly fan, be sure to plant this tree close to a window or porch, where you can sit and enjoy the fluttering all summer long. Bauhinia is covered with large and showy, but at the same time very delicate, pink or white flowers, from summer through early fall. Even out of bloom, its form and intriguing leaves are a real showoff as an understory accent.
Mexican orchid tree is normally deciduous, but may freeze to the ground in harsh winters. If it does freeze, simply cut back the dead trunks when you begin to notice new growth in the spring, probably be sometime in March.
And an important quality for many of us, Mexican orchid tree is listed to be deer resistant.