Have a Hong Kong Orchid Tree?

haname(z9 AZ NE Phoenix)February 12, 2010

Hi everyone,

I'm considering the Hong Kong Orchid to replace a mesquite that fell during recent storms. It sounds like a lovely tree but I am concerned about reports that it is susceptible to breakage during storms. Does anyone have some advice to offer, or something that would be recommended instead? I'm looking for something ornamental with nice fragrance that isn't thorny or too messy.

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antm0(Sunset Zone 13)

Check out Aloysia virgata, it's not massive but it's fragrance makes up for it

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 1:26AM
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I have 2 and I love them. I've never had trouble with storm damage. My sister has one (helped her plant it) and it is beautiful. I highly recommend this tree. I'm in Tempe.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 6:42PM
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This tree is subject to salt burn in our alkaline soils and salty water. If you have flood irrigation you can keep them pretty happy, but the ones I've seen in granite landscaped areas or sprinkler irrigated lawns seem to be stressed.

Why not consider a better adapted tree like Desert Willow, Chitalpa or even the thornless Cascalote (Caesalpinia cacalaco)?

Here is a link that might be useful: Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 12:04PM
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My Hong Kong Orchid trees are not planted in gravel or in the lawn and maybe they don't do that well in those locations, I don't know. Mine is on drip irrigation and I deep water periodically. Same for my sister's. All are planted next to a wall, in my back yard, and her side yard. I've not ever seen any sign of salt burn, etc., on the Hong Kong Orchid, though I've seen this commonly on the purple orchid tree.

I also grow cascalote and desert willow, and of course they do well here. However, I do like a tropical look in some areas of my yard, and Hong Kong Orchid trees fit that bill.

Again, I would recommend these trees under the right circumstances. I think they are too seldom planted here, and they are beautiful trees.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:13PM
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I planted 1 several years ago and it was very slow to grow. It froze in the terrible cold several years ago. I decided to try again and this time it was much different. This time the tree took off and has performed great. It handles the cold well and has just a small amount of leaf drop after the cold.

I highly recommend this tree and love the flowers. I do drip irrigate.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:49PM
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I planted a HK orchid as a 24" box about 5 years ago in a lawn area. Salt burn and chlorosis can be an issue but it hasn't affected the trees' growth. It is now over 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide and when it's in bloom which is twice a year, it's spectacular.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 1:08PM
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