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 Pruning Questions

Problems with Blackfoot Daisy from Lewisville, TX
April 23, 2013 - I planted a row of Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot Daisy) last spring at the front of the front yard, next to the sidewalk. It's full sun, east facing, unamended black clay gumbo soil. I put mulc...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Texas Mountain Laurel
March 30, 2008 - Two questions: 1. My mountain laurel (10 yrs old) has never had blooms. Is this a gender plant issue? 2. I have been seeking a groundcover that grows in shade and will take foot (dog) traffic. ...
view the full question and answer

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Century Plant
April 20, 2013 - I have a century plant that has just begun to bloom. I have a transplanted a few pups, successfully. I am wondering how I am to go about removing the mother plant once it blooms and dies. I'm reading...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of turkscap
November 16, 2009 - I have a Mexican Turk's cap, it is in its second year of growth and is doing well. However, I feel a need to prune it? do I need to?
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center