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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.

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

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Friday - June 22, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need for sunlight for Sophora secundiflora to bloom
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My mountain laurel doesn't bloom. We live in Oak Hill and planted it about seven years ago. It bloomed one year at about age three or four. Since then nothing. What can I do? It only gets indirect sunlight. Is that the problem? Should I be pruning it?

ANSWER:

The problem is most likely the shade issue. Sophora secundiflora (mescal bean) or Texas mountain laurel needs good sunlight to consistently produce lots of flowers. Pruning your Texas mountain laurel might be necessary for aesthetic reasons, but pruning will not induce more flowering. If it is possible to prune some of the trees shading your Sophora, you will probably enjoy more success from that effort.
 

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