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 Transplants Questions

Transplant shock in Chestnut Oak in Waukesha WI
September 13, 2009 - Bought and had nursery install a 4" diameter, 16' tall chestnut oak. Watered it as instructed-every 2nd or third day-hose stream size of my pinky for 45-60 minutes. It was planted in July. Just l...
view the full question and answer

Removal of leaves before transplanting
April 05, 2008 - Before transplanting a plant, is it a good idea to remove leaves?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese maple seedling in Rotterdam NY
August 09, 2010 - In the first couple days of August, I discovered a baby Japanese Maple growing against the wall of my storage shed, a short distance from a neighbor's full grown Japanese Maple. I transplanted this 5...
view the full question and answer

Trimming prairie coneflower for lower height when blooming in Hampshire IL
August 16, 2009 - Can the prairie coneflower, Ratibida Columnifera, be cut by half or some amount before setting flower buds to force the plant to bloom at a shorter height? If not, when is the best time to dig and tra...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting native azaleas in South Carolina
June 09, 2005 - When is the best time to transplant azaleas in South Carolina Low Country?
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