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

Tuesday - April 15, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Failure to bloom of Texas Mountain Laurel
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My +/- 4 yr old Tx. Mountain Laurel, has never bloomed. It is in full sun. I sometimes (minimal) fertilize it. I've pretty much planted it and let it grow. Its been pruned back last year when someone suggested that and it still hasn't helped. What else can I try?

ANSWER:

You are not the only one to face this problem with Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel). Please read this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer to a similar question. Without being too repetitive, two or three possibilities come to mind. In the first place, you are in Houston, while this plant is used to growing in rocky soil on limestone ledges. This is not to say it won't grow in Houston, but make sure your drainage is very good. Your tree shouldn't be transplanted, it is very difficult to do so because of its roots, and if they are damaged the tree will most likely die. However, you can be careful not to have the tree in the path of any unusual water drainage, and water it much less than other garden plants. Second, this tree is often referred to as a "problematic" bloomer, meaning you might get blooms and you might not, period. Third, while its cultural information calls for full sun to part shade, it will bloom better in full sun. Prune after the flowering period (February to March), as it blooms on year-old wood, and cut way back on nitrogen fertilizer. Any plant will lose interest in blooming and put on more leaves if too much nitrogen is applied.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Small native evergreen shrubs for North Carolina
May 17, 2007 - I live in zone 7 and need miniature shrub to go in flower bed situated in full sun. I love gardenias but afraid the intensity of the sun might be too much.
view the full question and answer

Removal of previously-planted perennials
July 23, 2008 - HI I JUST MOVED INTO A NEW HOUSE THIS YEAR THE PREVIOUS OWNERS PLANTED A LOT OF BEAUTIFUL PERENNIALS BUT I WANTED TO PLANT OVER ONE OF THE PERENNIALS THAT I REALLY DO NOT CARE FOR. IS THAT POSSIBLE? I...
view the full question and answer

Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
February 20, 2006 - Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of m...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Privacy Hedge for Long Island
June 29, 2012 - I live on Long Island and want a privacy evergreen hedge partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive Siebold viburnum from Isleboro ME
June 17, 2012 - I was given several small Siebold Viburnum for planting on my Maine property. Even though it is often for sale in nurseries, I'm aware it is listed as invasive in several eastern states. Shouldn't I...
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