The Q&A Archives: Hong Kong Orchid Tree

Question: We purchased a Hong Kong Orchid Tree winter of 2003. The tree flowers, however there is no new growth. Planted in southern exposure, temperature zone is inland mesa (hot in summer, cool in winter, low humidity). Clay soil, planted in mixture of potting medium and clay, is watered regularly 2-3 times a week.

Is there something we can do to stimulate the tree to grow? Would digging up the tree and seeding the clay with gypsum help?

Answer: If your tree is producing flowers and new leaves, it's probably healthy. I wouldn't dig it up and replant it - doing so will retard growth as the roots become re-established. Slow growth can usually be improved with the application of fertilizer. Use a general purpose 10-10-10 (a time-release encapsulated type) fertilizer and apply in amounts as indicated on the fertilizer package. You should see some improvement later this summer.

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