Hong Kong Orchid Tree Seedlings

love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)August 26, 2013

I collected some Hong Kong Orchid Tree seeds from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens at the end of July. Boy did they sprout easily! Now I'm wondering what is the best thing to do with these seedlings? I have seven - a couple more seeds sprouted since the photo was taken.

The trees are plentiful at the Zoo. There must be 20+ specimens around the park. Maybe even 30-40. They seem to all be understory/canopy trees in protected areas. I know that the Hong Kong Orchid is not normally hardy this far north. The Zoo is a good 15 miles north and inland of me and it is full of mature trees - BUT, it is right on the Saint Johns River. The river does a lot to protect against frost and freeze in the winter. Do you think any would survive under a tall live oak between the oak and the house? Or just keep them all in pots? Also, are they fussy about transplanting? How long do I wait? Also, at what point do I move them into full sun? Right now they get half-day afternoon sun on my west-facing porch.

Thanks in advance for your experience, tips and help!

Carol in Jacksonville

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katkin_gw

Carol, the Hong Kong orchid tree is sterol. If you have seedlings it is just an orchid tree, not the Hong Kong orchid. :o)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 2:50PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Yeah, I knew something about that - and I know that the sterile hybrid is the preferred model - but the databases that I searched still call it Hong Kong Orchid Tree. If it is merely Orchid Tree, that's fine, the name doesn't matter to me. Thanks for the help!

Carol

This post was edited by love_the_yard on Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 18:03

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 2:57PM
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TheTradition(9b)

You can grow it like you would any seedling, and it should grow like crazy. The seeding varieties flower just as beautifully as the real Hong Kong variety, but many find the big seed pods to be objectionable and messy. They do self-sow prolifically. So of course, you'll have to deal with the "Native Nazis" who scream about anything that's has the potential to be "invasive."

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 3:37PM
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morningloree(9b)

They like the same soil conditions as azaleas and don't like disturbances. I have 2 in understory conditions that you describe. Mine tend to get chlorotic leaves and respond to the same fertilizer you would use for azaleas. I give them some ironite, too. Right now, healthy and happy! This is my experience.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 5:40PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Thank you to all! I think that the trees won't be too much trouble - and definitely not invasive - because Jacksonville gets at least 1-2 hard freezes every winter (and usually more). I hope that will take care of any unwanted plants. I went ahead and transplanted one seedling to a protected area this afternoon and I'll see how it does. I really don't need six more trees in pots but I guess some will be lost over time. Thanks again, everyone!

Carol

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 5:58PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

I love them. Lawnmower takes care of any that sprout from seed-spitting. Grew one from seed about 7 years ago and it's already 18 feet tall, bloomed second year in ground. It was a seedling about twice as tall as your photo when I placed it in ground. Mixed with nothing but half compost, half 'soil' (our sugar sand) Beautiful flowers December-February

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 6:45AM
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tom123_gw

Interesting MsMorningSong. Mine blooms starting in late February and goes through March. It probably has to do with our different zones. Also, there are some years when I get a total bloom, where the leaves fall off and the entire tree is covered with flowers, and other years when the leaves fall off gradually and I get fewer flowers.

The hummingbirds that return in March really love the flowers. I love the fragrance.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 8:00AM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

I got some of a red variety of Hong Kong Orchid seeds. It is supposed to be more of a large shrub than a tree, I think.

Carol, did you soak your seeds before you planted them? Mine are probably not fresh as yours were lol, since I bought them instead of getting them fresh from the tree. I need to go to the zoo again lol. I haven't been there since they first put in the komodo dragon exhibit and planted all that neat bamboo around the koi pond.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 10:54AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Hi Sultry Jasmine,

No, I just put them directly into the soil. But of course, that was in July when it was hot as blazes and I had just picked up the seeds at the zoo. I actually picked up the seed pods off of the ground and popped the seeds out. Just a little over half of my seeds germinated really, really easily in the hot weather. I think I got seven out of twelve seeds. Those seven came up quickly and the other five never did anything. I hope you have some luck or you are welcome to come get a plant or two from me. :)

Carol in Jacksonville

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 12:26PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

Now I'm jealous Tom. ;)
We don't get hummingbirds, or at least I've never seen one down here.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 4:20PM
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tom123_gw

There are hummingbirds down there, MsMorningSong. We have them pretty much everywhere in Florida at one time of the year or the other. I remember going to the zoo south of Miami and seeing one in June. I think in southern Florida more of them show up in the winter months. If you plant for them there is a good chance you will see them.

Hummingbirds are most active at dawn and dusk and right after rain.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 7:11PM
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