Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bauhinia galpinii (Red Orchid Bush)

Bauhinia galpinii is unlike most other members of the genus.  This one is a sprawling large shrub, rarely getting more than 10 feet tall.  The width will be larger than the height.  It has a long flowering period, ranging from late spring through mid-autumn.
The coral-red flowers appear in clusters on new growth and are very attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, especially Swallowtails and Gulf Fritillaries.  As the 3-inch diameter blooms age, they fade to a salmon color.  Occasionally, pollinated flowers will form a flat, dry seed pod.
Leaves are two-lobed, typical of the Bauhinia genus.  If planted next to other trees, the new growth becomes vine-like and spirals upward around erect twigs.  Because of this habit, they can also be trained on trellises or arbors. I have one that has nearly engulfed a holly tree up to about 40 feet!

This species is native to South Africa and flowering will be best if the plant receives sun at least half of the day.  It is drought-tolerant once established.
Bauhinia galpinii is recommended for USDA Zones 9b to 11.  There may be some dieback during the most severe freezes but this is a vigorous plant that recovers quickly.


antigonum cajan said...

I believe that a quality garden should have rare species, uncommon and not requiring excessive maintenance.

These Bauhinias are a good example. In Puerto Rico, USA, they are not found.

There is one, Bauhinia tomentosa, which flowers are almost white and do not open completely
that I planted and passed away...

Excellent blog!

Casa Mariposa said...

Those are really beautiful!! I can only grow tropicals as summer annuals and don't think I've ever seen those offered at our local nurseries. The plants you grow are so different than mine (DC area) that FL seems like another country! :0)

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a wonderful Bauhinia. I have the white fragrant dwarf variety that I grew from seed. I love it. I've never seen this red one anywhere, that I know of.

It is always neat to see what others are growing here in our state.


Művelt Kert said...

Dear Jim, it's the frst time I learn about this interesting plant with those beautiful leaves. I'll come back regularly to check what's new! Eszter

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Bill in Orlando Florida said...

I have three of these in Orlando. They are my ''babies''.

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Cheryl said...

I just bought one at Ganter's Nursery in Vista, California, after seeing one they had growing against a shed and blooming profusely. Just lovely.... Can't wait to get it in the ground here in San Clemente. Thanks for the information.... I always love plants that attract hummingbirds!