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
1 rating

Friday - March 13, 2009

From: houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: At what age shold a Mountain Laurel bloom?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

At what age should a Texas Mountain Laurel bloom? I saw your response about feeding and about how high nitrogen fertilizers can diminish blooms but is there anything that will help, eg. "super bloom" products with a high middle number?

ANSWER:

 Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is a hardy Texas native, and one of the reasons for growing it is to see and smell those gorgeous flowers. Flowering of course is part of the reproductive process and plants tend to do this on their own schedule providing other things are going well in their life. I haven't found anything about a specific age for flowering for the Mountain Laurel, but three years is the earliest age that was mentioned.

On the NPIN page for Mountain Laurel (see link above), you can find the growing conditions that are favorable for growth. Lets look at three that are often problematic

Light requirement: sun, Partial Shade, however the plant blooms more profusely in full sun.

Soil moisture: Moist, dry. Over watering can "drown" the plant at worst, and can inhibit blooming.

Soil description: Dry, rocky, well drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, and Clay Loam. This is tied in with soil moisture.

As to fertilization, the ratio of Nitrogen:Phosphorous that the plant receives can influence the flowerng process. Higher nitrogen can inhibit flowering. It is almost an article of faith at the Wildflower Center that you don't fertilize native plants. In the case of Mountain Laurel, it is a legume and is fixing its own nitrogen. If it is also getting high nitrogen from the lawn fertilizer, the balance is shifted toward non-blooming.(See previous answer)

Your Agri-Life Extension Service in Harris County can provide soil testing that will determine if any fertilization is needed.

This link provides good information about growing and caring for Mountain Laurel.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Need a privacy screen beside a pool in Las Vegas, NV.
June 15, 2012 - Hi, I need to plant a privacy screen fence next to the pool. There is only 4-5 feet between the wall and the pool. That leaves only about 2 feet for soil. What are my best options for non invasive r...
view the full question and answer

Removing existing shrubs from Grapevine TX
September 24, 2012 - We just bought a house and we have some shrubs and hedges we want to remove. What is the best way to remove them so that they don't grow back? We have some holly hedges, a very large cedar or juniper...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for Trinity, TX
March 23, 2013 - I need a list of deer resistant flowers, herbs and plants that would could be planted in Trinity, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain
July 21, 2008 - I had two esperanza plants. They have been planted for about four months, this spring. They were blooming and growing. We had six inches of rain in five days and they began to wilt - and then they d...
view the full question and answer

Vines and shrubs for Las Vegas, Nevada
November 17, 2010 - We live in Las Vegas and would like to put some vines up on the walls of our backyard. One wall is full sun, one is partial sun partial shade, and two are all shade. We want something that is non-in...
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