The Q&A Archives: Hong Kong Orchid Tree

Question: I just removed a tree from my courtyard and would like to replace it with something that is beautiful and will ultimately block an electrical pole on the outside of my courtyard.

The area in Mill Valley, CA in which I live is a sunny valley. The area of my home where I would like to plant this tree is in the courtyard, not too far from a hot tub (that does not use chemicals).

Your website about this tree gives conflicting information about when it flowers.

Can you tell me when this does flower?
Also, for how long are the leaves gone when they drop?
Is it considered a messy tree that requires a lot of clean-up?

Do you think this might be a good tree to plant in this area?

thank you

Answer: Bauhinia, the Hong Kong Orchid Tree, has an umbrellalike growth habit and reaches about 20' high and wide. The flowers bloom from late fall to spring and are shaped somewhat like orchids. The gray-green leaves tend to drop off around bloom time, but the tree does not lose all of its foliage at one time. Instead, it retains some older leaves, develops new leaves and flowers, all at the same time. Obviously, with leaves and flower petals dropping from November through April, there will be litter associated with this tree. Aside from raking the leaves every week or two, I think the tree would be a lovely addition to your courtyard.

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