How to Plant an Orchid Tree

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An orchid tree offers a beautiful display of color for the first six months of the year, which makes it a popular choice for homeowners and landscapers. There are numerous varieties of orchid trees, from the Purple Orchid to Hong Kong Orchid, but all of them have the same basic growing requirements. If you live in warm, southern climates an orchid tree will do well in your area. You should be aware, however, that orchid trees can easily overtake an area, which is why the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Control has classified it as an invasive species.

Things You'll Need

  • Orchid tree
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch

Select a site for your orchid tree. The site should get full to partial sun. Soil should be moist but drain well so there is no standing water. When choosing a location, keep in mind that an orchid tree can grow to a height of 30 feet and its branches can spread just as wide.

Dig a hole that is at least three times as wide as the root ball. The hole should be as deep as the container is tall. If the tree root ball is wrapped in burlap, and the bound root ball sits 12 inches tall, then the hole should be 12 inches deep.

Remove the tree from its current container. If it is in a pot, then gently lay the pot on its side and tap it to loosen the root ball from the side of the container. If the tree is wrapped in burlap, then unfasten the burlap and lay it out flat. If your tree is wrapped with wire, simply snip several areas of the wire, creating large holes for the roots to grow through.

Lift the tree into the hole, fill the hole in with the original soil and tap it down firmly around the roots. While the soil should firmly fill in the roots, you don't want the soil to be hard and compacted.

Build a water ring around the hole. To do this, pile the dirt up three inches high around the outer edge. Fill the inside ring with three inches of water and let it soak down into the soil. If you see any areas where the soil has caved in, refill with more soil and tap it down securely.

Cover the soil around the tree with a 3-inch layer of mulch. Good mulch choices for orchid trees include pine needles or chipped bark.

Tips & Warnings

  • Orchid trees can easily be propagated by seed or root cuttings.
  • Orchid trees are native to warm climates, and will not survive in temperatures below 22 to 26 degrees.

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