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

Pruning of crepe myrtles
January 27, 2008 - I have three crepe myrtle trees in my yard. When do I trim back the branches? What if I waited too long to trim them back? Can I still do it? How far do I trim them back? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Care of Northern honeysuckle bush
April 26, 2009 - I have a honeysuckle bush, I have had it for about year to two years. I would like to know if I should cut the brown parts off. There are some vines that do not look good, but some of the branches ha...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Esperanza from Austin
June 06, 2012 - I have an Esperanza plant. I've had this plant for over 5 years. Its in a large pot. The plant has NEVER bloomed. I fertilize maybe once a month and dont seem to be over watering, only when I notice ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Roughleaf dogwood
November 28, 2013 - We put 5 rough-leaf dogwoods along our side deck; having been told (by the local, natural plant seller) that they would reach a maximum height of 6 feet. They have grown taller than that (despite som...
view the full question and answer

Trimming oaks and elms from New Braunfels TX
June 20, 2012 - I would like to trim my live oaks and elm trees at the same time, if possible. I think they are American Elms. When is the best time to do this and avoid oak wilt and Dutch elm disease? Should all c...
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