Can/Should this Hong Kong Orchid tree be saved?

lakusterApril 24, 2013

My 1 1/2 year old Hong Kong Orchid was hit by the frost (NE Phoenix) even though it was wrapped in Christmas lights. All the branches are dry and brittle, but I have a couple of shoots coming up at the bottom. Should I cut the whole thing back and try to grow it as a shrub or just take it out and start over with a different kind of tree. (Looking for something tropical)

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haname(z9 AZ NE Phoenix)

If you don't mind it as a shrub, then go for it. Your hummingbirds will appreciate it. :) But if you want a tree there, you'll need to replace it.

If I had a HKO again, I would make sure to wrap the trunk when freeze threatens and cover the crown, letting the frost cloth drape all the way to the ground.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:36PM
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Is that a graft line? If so, whatever is coming up from underneath is probably the root stock.

Has anyone grown a royal poinciana here? Now that is a beautiful tropical tree!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Here's the full tree - it was too tall for frost cloth. I don't know if that's a graft line. I'm sad that the main trunk seems to be gone. Guess I'll try to grow it as a shrub.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:49AM
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haname(z9 AZ NE Phoenix)

Yep, that crown is too tall. :) But wrapping the trunk and the main branches can protect enough so that if it freezes back you would still have a good tree structure. I wish I had known that the first winter I had my HKO. It would probably be a wonderful tree by now.

So sorry you lost your tree.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Update - Here we are - one year later. It grew like crazy over the past year, survived the winter and is in full bloom. I've been told Hong Kong Orchids often shed their leaves in early Spring, but that didn't happen here.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

Wow awesome update!

I'm surprised how much growth it pushed in one year!

Do you fertilize yours? any iron supplement?

I have five Hong Kong orchids in the back yard just planted this past Feb. and one White orchid tree that I just planted a few weeks ago. I wished I had gotten the purple orchid trees instead since they're more cold hardy than the hong kongs, but I couldn't resist the price that I got them for lol

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 6:34PM
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No, I don't fertilize mine. It's on a drip system with the rest of my trees. Since the main trunk was killed off in last year's frost, these 'branches' all grew up from below the place where I cut it off. An arborist suggested I cut out some of the branches that crossed after flowering season.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:11PM
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    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Lori Reed

I am soooooooo glad I found this post completely by accident. We have that same tree, and had the exact same experience. We let it come back in the spring and it looks lovely just like yours. Anyway, we have been trying to find out what kind of tree this was for 7 years now. Mystery solved. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 7:48AM
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