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Bauhinia variegata (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Bauhinia variegata (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

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Zone
Zones 13, 18-27, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Bauhinia variegata

Purple Orchid Tree
Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Deciduous, Shrubs, Trees

BAUHINIA

These flamboyant flowering trees and shrubs have a very special place in Hawaii and mild-winter areas of California and Arizona. They vary greatly by species and climate. Common to all garden bauhinias are twin “leaves,” actually twin lobes. Thin crowded growth after bloom.

Bauhinias flower best when grown in wind-shelteres spots in well-drained, semi-fertile soil. Though they thrive in heat, dry heat or drought may cause leaf edges to brown.

Bauhinia variegata ‘Candida’ (photo courtesy of Claire Curran)
Bauhinia variegata ‘Candida’ (photo courtesy of Claire Curran)

Click to Enlarge

Bauhinia variegata

Native to India and China. The plant is hardy to 22°F/–6°C. The most frequently planted bauhinia, it is inclined to grow as a many-stemmed shrub, but if staked and pruned, becomes an attractive 20–35 ft. tree. Wonderful show of light pink to orchid purple, broad-petaled, 2–3-in.-wide flowers, usually winter into spring; a spectacular street tree where spring is reliably and steadily warm. Light green, broad lobed leaves generally drop in midwinter. After bloom, it produces a huge crop of messy-looking beans; trim them off if you wish (trimming brings new growth earlier). ‘Candida’ is white-blossomed but otherwise identical to the species.

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