En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - March 28, 2007

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of Mountain Laurel by seed
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I harvested the seed or nut from our Mountain Laurel this spring and I would like to propagate them in containers for at least a year and then transfer them to the ground. I live in Hays County, TX in rocky "Hill Country" terrain. Do I remove the hull (some of them came out spontaneously) or plant them in the shell? Is there a pre-planting treatment? How deep should I set them? Is there a particular orientation? Should I use the local soil? Should they get started in shade/partial shade/sun? How much watering?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has some personal experience starting Sophora secundiflora (mountain laurel) and has these recommendations:

1. Yes, remove the shell.

2. Jill Nokes in How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest says: "Germination ... is delayed by a hard seed coat. Seeds may be filed or mechanically scarified with a knife." Another way to scarify the seeds is to rub them with coarse sandpaper. The idea is to penetrate the seed cover enough to allow the seed to imbibe water. Another method that gives almost 100% germination is to soak the seeds in water for 2-4 weeks before planting. Since the seeds are poisonous, you should soak the seeds in a container that you can throw away, such as a used plastic bottle. Mr. Smarty Plants had about 50% yield on untreated seeds just planted in potting soil in a flower pot.

3. About 2-3 times the width of the seed should be a good depth for planting. Jill Nokes also advises planting in a pot that is tall enough for the little laurel to be able to develop a good long root system in the pot that will support it when it is transplanted to outdoors.

4. There is no particular orientation to plant the seed.

5. You can use potting soil or local soil with potting soil added if your local soil is very clayey.

6. They should be grown in partial shade. Jill Nokes recommends 30% shade in the first year.

7. Water often enough to keep the soil from completely drying out. Be sure that the pot allows good drainage.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Propagation Questions

Care and propagation of Kentucky Coffeetree
December 22, 2006 - I found a tree on our property in Missouri, after some reserch I found that it is a Kentucky Coffee tree. I collected several of the pods and would like to know how I can plant them to grow. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Turk's cap in Midland TX
September 08, 2009 - My turk's cap won't make flowers. It has daily watering via irrigation system, and soft amended soil. The plant is beautiful and thriving, but no flowers. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Viability of Lupinus havardii seeds from Elmendorf TX
April 25, 2014 - I have been able to grow several Lupinus havardii (Big Bend Bluebonnet) and they are now making seed. Is there anyway to determine if a seed is good or bad for this plant?
view the full question and answer

Planting time for Helianthus annuus in Wichita Co., TX
April 16, 2007 - I need to know when is the best time to plant sunflowers in the Wichita Falls, Texas area? Thank you for your time.
view the full question and answer

Controlling agave pups from Galveston, TX
July 26, 2013 - I live in Galveston, Tx.I have several large 5ft tall century plants in my yard and the pups are coming up everywhere..how do I control these??? HELP!!
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center