Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Orchid Tree
Bauhinia monandra

Family: Caesalpiniaceae (ses-al-pin-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bauhinia (baw-HIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: monandra (mon-AN-druh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

14 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Pale Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 16 photos.
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2 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive LaurainHawaii On Sep 24, 2014, LaurainHawaii from Hilo, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I know that the net says that they do not transplant well, but I just transplanted one 12 feet high that had been growing in a 15 gal pot for years and had rooted through the drain holes. The drain hole roots broke off so when I moved it, so when I put it in the ground it had very few roots at all. I removed all the leaves except for a few at the tips, pruned about 1/4 to 1/3 of it off, and now 2 weeks later it never lost its flowering tips or the few leaves I left and is starting to sprout. and this was in 85-90 degree weather...

Positive DaniHotep On Oct 11, 2012, DaniHotep from Dana Point, CA wrote:

I grew a specimen for 8.5 years, from 12 in high in its 1-gal container, to approx 12 feet at the time we moved. It was of just one, light lavender shade rather than the red-streaked variety I see these days. I pruned it back about half-way after it was finished blooming, causing thicker growth and much better blooms the next year and preventing the straggly growth that it seems to have otherwise--note the street-tree use of them in SoCal: If they are not pruned as I say, they are not as attractive. Please let me know if you know of somewhere to obtain that same variety; I'd love to grow them again!

Negative nonipuppy On Oct 10, 2012, nonipuppy from Orange Lake, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I live just S of Gainesville and put in one of these about 10 yrs ago. It was about 4' single stalk tree. We put it in the yard where there was plenty of room. It grew quick, it would send up shoots from the ground that we kept trimmed. When it was about 10' and rather full it bloomed around Jan-Feb. The following yr we got a freeze and it died back. In the spring it sent up a bunch of shoots that grew long and quick. We tried to keep it trimmed more like a tree because it was just getting out of hand. That winter it froze before it bloomed and we cut it back again. By this time we had a 'stump' 2ft across with multiple trunks coming up. We tried to dig it up because mowing around this mound was impossible but the roots made that impossible. It took about 3-4 yr for that area to break down so we could get the stumps out and mow the area.

We still have them all over the yard. They are like a weed in that they will get out of control and once they start to grow along your foundation or other places they are hard to get rid of. They don't pull out easy even when small. We found that only by spraying round up can you get rid of it and even then I have had some come back up.

Yes they are beautiful. I have friends in Jamaica with beautiful trees in their yards but they are to much work to keep them looking nice and if it gets frosty they wilt up and a freeze kills them back and then they don't flower.

In S & Central Florida they can become invasive and recommended to be controlled or contained. For information on them you can go the the UF site at

Neutral GaGaMiMi On Oct 8, 2012, GaGaMiMi from Fremont, CA wrote:

Does this Orchid tree have a scent?

Neutral mitzi56 On Oct 8, 2012, mitzi56 from Dunnellon, FL wrote:

i was given this tree around a year ago, but i live in zone 9b to 10 so it had died back one year so i cut it down to almost ground level and its come back, now im awaiting to see if it blooms. it is october now and im hoping by nov-dec it will flower for me. do you water these freuently during the winter> will this tree flower again since it almost died off?

Neutral frostweed On Jan 4, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Orchid Tree Bauhinia monandra is Naturalized in Texas and other States.

Neutral htop On Aug 13, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this tree. Other common names for this plant are Napoleon's plume, pink orchid tree, butterfly flower and poor man's orchid. It is a shrub or small tree, native of Asia (Burma), that has been planted and has escaped or naturalized itself throughout the West Indies from Cuba and Jamaica to Barbados and Trinidad. It has been planted as an ornamental in Puerto Rico, but can be found naturalized in thickets, along roadsides as well as river banks in the coastal, limestone and lower mountain regions. After being cultivated in southern Florida and deep south Texas, it is a naturalized plant in these states as well. The species name 'monandra' refers to the fact that only a single stamen produces pollen, which distinguishes this species from other similar members of the genus.

Pink orchid tree can attain a height of 20 feet and has a spreading habit. The 4 to 6 inches across leaves are cleft almost to the middle which gives them the shape of a hoof print. In April through July, the blooms appear in terminal racemes. The blooms, which look like orchids, start out a pale yellow, but turn to pink the next day and the center petal is streaked with magenta. The seed are enclosed in pea-like pods which are between 6 inches and 1 foot long. Although not usually necessary, they can be pruned after flowering. Pink orchid trees sometimes suffer from chlorosis and may be treated with iron chelate.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Dana Point, California
Santa Ana, California
Cape Coral, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Deland, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Fountain, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lehigh Acres, Florida
Orange Lake, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Hilo, Hawaii
Lafayette, Louisiana
Alice, Texas
Cypress, Texas
Missouri City, Texas (2 reports)
Rockport, Texas
Hazel Dell North, Washington

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