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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - March 19, 2008

From: Prairieville, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Viability of Texas Mountain Laurel in Louisiana
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just returned from a visit to Austin and I saw the Texas Mountain Laurel everywhere. I live in the Baton Rouge, LA area and would like to know if performing some soil amendments would allow me to grow this plant in my yard. I have excellent drainage and plenty of sun where I'd like to plant a couple. Any chance of survival here. Thank you. Marc

ANSWER:

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is really popular during its bloom period, which is now in Austin. In fact, we just answered a question about whether this plant would grow in Florida, please see this previous question. Honestly, we are not trying to discourage the use of some of our beautiful native Texas plants in other parts of the country. But we have to point out that it is only native to portions of Southeast New Mexico and Southwest Texas. Some of this is in the Chihuahuan Desert, which has elevations of 1000 to 5000 ft. The mid range of those elevations is called the "shrub desert" or the Oak-Juniper-Pinyon Woodlands on the slopes and valleys where Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) clings to the rock cliffs in the shade of peaks, in areas where some water might collect. The average annual rainfall of the Chihuahuan Desert is about 12 inches or less. This is not to say it cannot be grown anywhere else, and has been naturalized in areas of Arizona and Texas that are more borderline desert climate.

East Baton Rouge Parish, in the lower part of the "L" of Louisiana is a humid, subtropical climate, with long hot, wet summers. It is north by several counties of the Gulf Coast, and the average annual rainfall is 55 inches. As we advised the gardener in our previous question: experimenting with this, using seed and transplanting, is worth a try. However, consider this: the Texas Mountain Laurel requires full sun, which means that if you have it in a pot for good drainage, it will still have to sit outside in an unroofed area. How many years are you willing to haul larger and larger pots in and out to keep heavy rains from drowning your plant? Another point against the Mountain Laurel in any residential landscape is that the seeds and flowers of this plant are highly poisonous, so if you have children or pets that can come in contact with it, it could be dangerous. And, finally, what you saw blooming gloriously in Austin is now fading away to grayish blooms which will soon be completely gone, the bloom time being February and March.


Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

 





 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Non-native dwarf palm leaves yellowing in Katy TX
March 30, 2013 - 1 month ago we planted dwarf palms, the leaves are turning yellow, does this mean we are over watering them? If so how much water do they require? Is there anything we can give them? We also have a fa...
view the full question and answer

How fast do trees grow?
September 03, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I would like to know how to tell how much a tree will grow if the average of the trees are growing at the rate of approximately 3 to 3.5% annually. And how do they come up wi...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for a globe willow tree
July 27, 2009 - We are interested in replacing a pine tree with a globe willow because they grow fast but everything i have been reading about them scares me. is there another tree comparable to a globe willow that g...
view the full question and answer

Young Maple Dropping Leaves in Late Summer
September 05, 2013 - I have a 6-year-old maple tree. I'm not sure what type it is as the builder planted it. It is as tall as our two-story house and very healthy. It's the biggest tree in our neighborhood because we fe...
view the full question and answer

List of trees native to Texas
May 22, 2009 - I am terribly sorry but, I just found out about this school project; leaves from Texas native trees. I gathered leaves and, now, tonight, Mr. Student advises that they must be native to Texas. Typic...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center