Bauhinia natalensis

Water Needs

low; moderate; water wise

Bauhinia natalensis
Shrub small; Shrub medium
Natal Bauhinia

1.5 – 2.5 m

Size

Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade

Frost

light

Flowers

white; November, December, January, February, March, April; spring summer autumn

sun; semi-shade; afternoon sun; clay soils; container; narrow spaces; screen; shrubbery; poor soils; wildlife butterflies moths sunbirds insects butterfly host; fast-growing easy-care

Garden Situation

Habitat

coastal kzn; woodland; bushveld

Region

Highveld; subtropical east coast; thicket

Rain Season

summer

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Description

Soft form, delicate leaves and pure white flowers make this an attractive, ornamental shrub for even the smallest garden. Perhaps the only downside for the evergreen gardener is leaf-loss in winter. It is multi-stemmed, and plants in full sun have a more compact, rounded form than their more lanky siblings tucked beneath a shady canopy. Flowers are quite gorgeous; lightly crinkled petals fairly large (up to 4 cm in diameter) for a small shrub, with maroon stripes down the centre, said to be directional guides to night-flying insects; each flower is long-lasting. Leaves are the smallest of the South African bauhinias, 2-leaved, with each wing nearly semi-circular in shape. Flowering being at the end of spring and continues through to April; typical of the white flowers pollinated by night-flying insects like moths, flowers carry a light fragrance that attracts these pollinators. Golden brown pods, with sharply pointed tips, hang heavily from stems from January to June, splitting open to scatter the tiny seeds. The Natal Bauhinia has a neat form so requires little pruning, especially if placed where it can grow to full size. A light trim though encourages a more compact growth. B. natalensis thrives in poor soils.

Bauhinia natalensis
Bauhinia natalensis