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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


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


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

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