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?


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
1 rating

Wednesday - November 26, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants
Title: Why is my Mountain Laurel in distress?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


We have planted our 2nd Texas Mountain Laurel in the same spot (after fresh berm built with sandy loam) and it is not looking good in less than 2 weeks. We have an identical berm on the other end of our house with a healthy mountain maurel and lantana but all that died on the other side. WE haven't replaced anything but the laurel which is looking yellowish and has dried up leaves on a branch which appears might have been damaged. There is no shade and we have watered almost daily. Does this sound like we are caring for it properly or a deeper soil issue?


The Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is  a hardy plant that grows throughout the hill country in some rather inhospitable habitats, eg. growing out of limestone rocks. Therefore, it's disappointing when we try to nurture the plant without success.

I'm wondering about a couple of things. One is what happened to the Mountain Laurel that died, and how have things changed since it's demise? The second is the source of your new plant. The fact that it isn't looking good after less than two weeks since planting seems to indicate that the plant was under stress when you got it. If you bought it from a nursery, you might check on their return policy. If you are moving the plant from another location (ie. transplanting it), Mountain Laurels don't transplant well. The problem is that the tap root is long, and it is hard to get enough of it in the root ball for the plant to survive.

Mountain Laurel can grow in full sun to partial shade in dry rocky, well drained, alkaline soils. In your situation, I would suggest checking the soil pH, and reducing the amount of water.

Click on this link to learn more about caring for Texas Mountain Laurel


From the Image Gallery

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Black rot at center of Agave from Clovis CA
May 12, 2013 - We have some beautiful variegated "Green & Cream" Agave plants in our cactus garden. One in particular has done quite well for several years and is the largest, about 18" tall & across, it has neve...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on lantana in Dallas
September 14, 2005 - For several years, the lantana plants in my backyard in Dallas grew and bloomed all Summer and Fall until the first real cold snap. I've loved having a native plant that didn't need constant care a...
view the full question and answer

Non-native sedum 'Burrito' sunburned in Providence RI?
June 28, 2010 - I have a sedum burrito that I keep outside and receives bright sun for around 6 hours a day. it looks like it's getting sunburned, the leaves are getting shriveled and browning on the tips. I've bro...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurels are dying in Georgetown, TX.
April 02, 2012 - Ten year old Mountain Laurels both last year and this spring have had entire branches turn brown just after blooming this Feb. Round Rock Arborist suggested I contact you. Last year one of my laurels...
view the full question and answer

Care of Styphnolobium affine, Eves necklace
October 05, 2007 - I have an 18 yr old Eve's Necklace tree that is dying from the "bottom up". It has only a few leaves at the very top of the tree. I have, connected to the gutter, a rain barrel from which the exc...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center