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

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel
November 12, 2009 - How much can I prune a 10 year old mountain laurel to re-shape it and when?
view the full question and answer

Planting dogwood in Baytown TX
April 23, 2010 - I live in Baytown Texas and was wondering if this would be a good area to plant a dogwood tree?
view the full question and answer

Roses or other flowering plants for Coleman, Texas
March 10, 2009 - I want to plant native roses at a country home in Coleman Co., southern exposure, with well water, drip system,but ,hot, dry & windy! I know the Mutabilis does well in Austin, but, is it suitable for...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
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