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

Rock under space for Bigtooth Maple in San Antonio
May 20, 2013 - I just got a 10 gallon Bigtooth Maple in Medina TX for my home outside loop 1604 in San Antonio. I hit rock about 7 inches in when trying to plant it..I am entertaining the idea for a raised bed to le...
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtles dying in Alexander City AL
October 26, 2010 - I have a difficult problem with my wax myrtle plants dying. I have 36 Wax Myrtle bushes, approximately 10 feet high and they are dying, one at a time. They look fine and then within a week the lea...
view the full question and answer

Seasoning oak for burning
December 18, 2008 - I have an oak on my property that has been dead for at least two years. It has produced no leaves. When I cut it down (it was 93 inches around), it looked extremely healthy. We split it up and my f...
view the full question and answer

Need help with a fungal disease in oak trees in Austin, TX
April 26, 2012 - Two adjacent oak trees in my yard are showing distinct symptoms of Sudden Oak Death. Most notably, the lowest ten feet of their trunks have several bleeding cankers with thick, tarry ooze and no accom...
view the full question and answer

Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
August 16, 2013 - My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrin...
view the full question and answer

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