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
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


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.


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

What is difference between Rhododendrons and Azaleas
April 23, 2008 - I am replanting my entire front yard as a native woodland garden (I am on Long Island, NY). I am having a hard time finding native rhododendrons and/or azaleas. I would prefer to remain true to the ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
March 25, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves sh...
view the full question and answer

Identifcation of strange orange growth on shrubs
May 04, 2009 - I have found a strange orange ball shape with softer spikes about 1-2 in. growing from it on my shrubs, they grow around the branch. I believe they are Yews. I have never seen them before but now ther...
view the full question and answer

Small white bugs on indoor hibiscus in Ohio
November 25, 2008 - My Hibiscus has small white bugs on the leaves with small white residue. Looks like very small pieces of white rice. This white rice is also covering the UNOPENED buds and making them fall off. It ...
view the full question and answer

Plants that will grow in clay in North Carolina
March 14, 2008 - I have a small fenced back yard, predominately hard red clay, that is a major focal point. I am designing my own garden/yard area (to cut cost) and have a list of plants that will grow in this soil w...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center