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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 07, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) refuses to bloom
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have a Texas Mountain Laurel that gets full sunlight, but does not bloom. It is 4-5 ft tall & 3-4 ft wide & healthy. Is there anything we can do to make it bloom next year?

ANSWER:

It sounds like everything should be ideal for your Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) to bloom. However, Mr. SP has one question? Are you fertilizing it? If you are, don't do it! Here is a quote from a previous question about native plants failing to bloom:

"The problem with flowering shrubs that are not flowering, native or not, is often too little sunshine or too much lawn fertilizer. Obviously, if you have it in full sun in Austin, that is not the problem. Lawn fertilizer, which possibly is being spread a little farther than the lawn, is high in nitrogen for green leaves (or blades) of grass. A plant you wish to flower but give too much nitrogen will get lazy and fail to bloom. A plant has just one goal in life and that is to reproduce itself. To make seed, it must make flowers, but if it doesn't feel just a little bit insecure about its future, it won't expend the considerable energy to create the flowers."

In general, native plants do not need to be fertilized—one of the many advantages for planting native.


Sophora secundiflora

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with yaupon from San Angelo TX
April 08, 2012 - We have a 3-yr-old yaupon holly entering its 3rd summer. We have put store-bought wood-chips under the tree several times since it was planted. A plant has grown under the tree, possibly out of the ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Savannah Holly plants in Friendswood, TX.
June 17, 2009 - I have planted 4 savannah hollies in front of my house, two on the left of the door and two on the right. If you are standing in front of my house and looking at the door, the sun rises at the back l...
view the full question and answer

Potted Plumbago, struggling with the heat, in Spring Texas
June 29, 2011 - Why do some of the leaves of my plumbagos that are grown in large, well-draining planters turn brown? The brown starts on the tips, then extends to the whole leaf. They get several hours of west aft...
view the full question and answer

Diseased Mexican plum tree in Austin
September 27, 2009 - I have a grove of 5 year old Mexican plum trees one of which is oozing sap from its trunk and a branch appears to have died. Is there anything that I can do to help the tree besides removing the dead...
view the full question and answer

Need help with Wheeler's Dwarf Pittosporum
September 02, 2015 - We have about five Dwarf Wheeler Pittosporum plants. All of them are mature and were doing well. I was on vacation for a week or so and when I came back I saw of each of them is plant 90% dead. The d...
view the full question and answer

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