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

Friday - March 13, 2009

From: Cleveland, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Texas Mountain Laurel in Florida
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty, This is more a comment than a question about Barbara Medford's (Estero, FL) question of whether you can grow Texas Mountain Laurel in Ft. Myers, FL. About 4 yrs. ago, I purchased a 2 ft. tall plant from Fredericksburg, TX and gave it to my friend in Deerfield Beach, FL which is about the same latitude as Ft. Myers but on the Atlantic side. Now it's about 15 ft. tall, appears healthy and trained like a tree but hasn't bloomed yet although it had racemes last year and more this year. It's not very far from a water sprinkler so it's probably getting more water than in its natural habitat. Hopefully the racemes will turn into flowers this spring.

ANSWER:

If there is one rule Mr. Smarty Plants has to keep always in mind, it is that there are always going to be exceptions. In this case, a plant totally adapted to dry, rocky, hot West Texas often languishes in its native habitat, but is flourishing in a very non-native habitat. All we can do is make recommendations based on the best information we have. When we discourage planting something because it is not native to that area, it's because we hate to see time and resources wasted. Also, of course, there is always the possibility of a non-native plant becoming invasive in an area where it doesn't belong. Nevertheless, a determined gardener and a survivor plant will inevitably make us look like we don't know what we're talking about. We're happy it worked out, and thank you for letting us know. As a side note, don't worry too much about the delay in blooming in the Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel); even in their native Texas and New Mexico, they are often reluctant bloomers, for no apparent reason. 


Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Butterfly bushes and weed killer in Pueblo West CO
August 27, 2011 - I have 3 previously healthy butterfly bushes that have one by one developed masses of tiny yellowish-green compact leaves. The entire bush went from its normal healthy appearance to something that res...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Hedge for Austin
November 28, 2010 - Hello, We live in Austin and have a yard that is almost fully shaded. We have a few burford holly bushes there, but would like to add some evergreen interest. We would love a tall hedge (around 8 ft...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shady Woodland in MA
June 09, 2013 - Hello, I am looking for natives to plant in full shade or part shade. My house is in the mountain woodland area of Mt. Washington, MA. I am looking for grasses, flowers and shrubs. Also I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge for Maryland Porch
July 03, 2014 - I am working on a screen/fence, which is a barrier hedge between our house and our next door neighbor's house to add privacy to our screen porch and dining area, especially in winter. The fence would...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Dwarf Shrub and Agave Flowers
February 18, 2013 - I have two questions. I need a symmetrical dwarf shrub for full sun in Austin area that is non-flowering. Can you recommend some? And do agaves always flower when they are about 10 years and then die?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center