Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - April 09, 2014

From: Cordoba, Argentina
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Soils, Transplants, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Planting Mountain Laurel grown from seeds in Argentina
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I was transferred to Cordoba, Argentina 2 years ago from San Antonio, the climate hereis similar to S. TX, anyway I brought some mountain laurel seeds with me and they have been in 2 gallon pots for a year now and are doing great. They are about 8 inches tall with multiple branches, it is fall here now, and I wanted to know if it was a good time to transplant them. Thanks in advance for your advice

ANSWER:

Since our specialty is plants native to North America, planted in North America, we're a little uncertain about this but we'll wing it. Plus, you are gardening south of the Equator, which is going to confuse us even more. You can follow this plant link, Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)  to our webpage in the Native Plant Database and compare the growing conditions on that webpage with those in your present garden.

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Dry, rocky, well-drained, preferably calcareous soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Needs good drainage."

In particular, we would question the soil type in which you will be asking those seedlings to grow. If your soil is acidic or does not drain well, those are going to be problems.

However, if you already have the seedlings up, nothing ventured, nothing gained. We ordinarily recommend that woody plants be planted in cool weather, i.e., December and January in Texas. So, would that be June and July where you are?

We also have an aversion to introducing a non-native into any country, especially in North America, but that applies to South America, too. We could find no literature on whether Mountain Laurel could become an invasive pest in South America, and there may be insects there that will adore Mounrtain Laurel flowers. Please also note this from that webpage:

"Warning: The brilliant red seeds contain the highly poisonous alkaloid cytisine (or sophorine) - this substance is related to nicotine and is widely cited as a narcotic and hallucinogen."

We don't want to be blamed for something bad that comes of a beautiful plant native to Central Texas, so please consider your actions very carefully.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Trees Questions

Care in planting native Shumard oaks
April 16, 2008 - I am going to plant 3 shumard red oaks on the west side of my property. The land is basically rocky. What should I put in the holes to help the tree grow?
view the full question and answer

Summer flowering small trees for NY
April 20, 2011 - Request recommendations about trees for terrace. Would like flowers or color in summer; not spring. (Some of my trees are twenty five feet high.) Full sun, some wind, large containers. Please recomme...
view the full question and answer

Is Ilex glabra Shamrock a female cultivar
June 02, 2008 - I have an ilex glabra "shamrock". Is it a FEMALE cultivar? I have only found information that the "compacta" and the "nigra" are females. I have a male ilex glabra and was hoping to have berrie...
view the full question and answer

Protecting live oaks when removing jasmine in Austin
December 03, 2010 - Thank you for your answer to my question of eliminating a 25-year-old bed of Asian Jasmine. I have another question. There is a stand of live oak trees in this bed and as we are digging out the jasmi...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing elm species from volunteers in yard
April 10, 2008 - What's the best way to distinguish young elm tree species apart from one another? We have a bunch coming up in our yard and we're trying to figure out if they are Winged, Cedar or American. Some of ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.