Bauhinia Kockiana - Overfertilization Mistakes in Growing

After seeing the Bauhinia Kockiana in pictures from websites, I wanted to have one. I've read that it's quite a hardy plant and grows like weeds in many parts of Singapore and Malaysia At least that's what I've read. It should be easy to take care for, I thought. With our weather being similar to that in Malaysia, then I should have no problem growing it.

Then in one of our visits at Sidcor Centris, I chanced upon one Bauhinia Kockiana plant. "I just have to have it!" was the first thought I had. It didn't have flowers at all to confirm its identification. However, both DH and I have researched the plant. She was quite sure the plant being sold was the Bauhinia Kockiana vine because of the vein patterns on the leaves.

Expensive Bauhinia Kockiana at Sidcor/Centris

There are some hard to find and unusual plants being sold at Centris. So it is always a joy to visit the place. The Bauhinia Kockiana that was being sold was priced at a whopping Php350. It's the small one, actually, and the vendor had a bigger and more expensive one. But since I've been on a quest to find this plant, I shelled out the money with the excitement of getting beautiful flowers in a few months from a small plant.

Brown/Black Spots on Leaves of Bauhinia Kockiana

Upon arriving home, I wasn't ready on where to put it. So I let it stay in its pot for a few days. I wanted it to really grow though and DH suggested planting it in the ground. There, she believes, any plant would grow much faster.

So we planted it in-ground at the back of the house near the house wall. It will get plenty of morning sunshine there, but that is all the sunshine it will get. Here's the plant as shown planted in the ground.

You can see I put a green-colored gardening tie wire that pulls a couple of branches together. This plant has rambling branches that seem to have hardened and were going in opposite directions. I wanted to grow and maintain an erect vine, essentially.

After a couple of weeks, I didn't see anything change on the plant. There were a few black/brown spots on the leaves, especially along the tips and edges and I was thinking it was drying up. The watering is fine, DH said, but the brown leaves on the plant don't convince me. Still something's wrong with it, I thought. This plant hasn't been fertilized ever since we bought it and so I applied complete 14-14-14 fertilizer from a watering can.

Overfertilized Bauhinia Kockiana Plant

After a few days, it seemed that the brown spots have become bigger and even the younger leaves were starting to have them. I was worried that I may have overfertilized the Bauhinia vine. Thinking that indeed it was a case of overdosing on fertilizers that burned the leaves, I thought of options to "remove" the fertilizer in the ground. But how can it be done?

Finally, I just asked DH to remove the plant from the ground and repot it into new soil that didn't have fertilizer. Here is the Bauhinia Kockiana vine being repotted into an old plastic container.

The old rootball was taken out from the ground. New soil was added into the pot with plenty of coco dust. So was it the fertilizer? I correctly label and store fertilizers with their instructions intact and so I thought I was doing enough.

Attempts to Revive the Bauhinia Kockiana Vine

After a few more days, the black spots seem to have worsened. Was it the residual fertilizer that the plant had in its rootball?

I was running out of ideas on how to drain off the excess fertilizer (if there was) that the plant was subjected to. So I tried making the drain hole of the plastic pot bigger. The idea was to cut a long enough slit at the bottom of the pot and then insert a piece of rock. The piece of rock wil keep the slit open and therefore easily drain out fertilizer when I water the plant.

Sadly, it was a little too late. The constant watering to drain off the fertilizer and the handling of the potted plant was apparently too much for the Bauhinia. Even as I laid off the plant for a while, it just didn't recover its previous vigor and wilted.