Bauhinia (Bauhinia variegata) produces masses of sweet-smelling, orchid-like flowers in late winter and early spring and sometimes sporadically throughout the summer. Bauhinia grows 20 to 40 feet tall and is appropriate for growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 to 11.
Take the Cuttings
Cuttings are taken from a mature, healthy bauhinia tree during the summer months, when the stems bend easily but are firm enough to break with a snap. To take cuttings, use a knife or pruning shears that have been wiped with rubbing alcohol or a weak bleach solution. Cut each 4- to 6-inch cutting from the tip of a stem.
Prepare the Container
Fill a clean plastic container to about 1/2 inch from the top, using a well-drained potting media. Any type of fresh, commercial potting soil works well, although a small handful of sand or perlite enhances drainage. Use a plastic container from a garden center or use a margarine or cottage cheese container with a hole poked in the bottom. Water the potting soil, then set it aside to drain until the soil feels just slightly damp.
Prepare the Cuttings
To prepare the bauhinia cuttings for panting, snip off any leaves on the bottom half of the cuttings. Leave the upper leaves intact, but snip the leaves in half horizontally to save space in the pot. Dip the cut end of each bauhinia cutting in powdered rooting hormone. Tap each cutting firmly to remove excess powder.
Plant the Cuttings
Plant the cuttings in the dampened potting soil. A pot will hold several cuttings, but don’t allow the leaves to touch, as doing so can cause the cuttings to rot. Spray the top of the soil lightly to settle the soil around the cuttings.
Care for the Cuttings
Slide the container into a zip-seal bag and seal the top of the bag, as bauhinia cuttings require a warm environment in order to root. Leave the bag sealed until you see new growth on the cuttings. At that time, open the zip-seal closing slightly to provide fresh air. Leave the bag open a bit further the bag a big further for three or four days then fold the bag down so it extends about an inch above the top of the container. Remove the bag completely after two or three days. Water lightly whenever the soil feels slightly dry.
Transplanting the Cuttings
Transplant each rooted bauhinia cutting in its own 4-inch pot. Place the pots in indirect light and continue to water when the soil feels slightly dry. Allow the seedlings to mature at least until spring, then plant the seedlings in a sunny spot in your garden.