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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - August 22, 2010

From: Drake, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Trees
Title: Can a Texas Mountain Laurel be grown in Drake CO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Colorado, in the mountains near Estes Park, and would like to plant the Texas Mountain Laurel. Can they be grown in this environment. I would be willing to grow them in containers so I could move them indoors in the deep winter. I have good western exposure, and several hours of sunlight in the winter. we also have very hard well-water. can you help?

ANSWER:

We don't know if we can help, but we can tell you the things we know about Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel). To begin with it is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 7b to 10b; Drake, depending on exactly where it is in Larimer County, ranges from Zones 3b to 4b, with minimum annual average temperatures of -40 to -20 deg. F.  As for planting it in containers, it is always worth a try, but it does have a very long taproot, and resists transplanting. Its native distribution is South and Central Texas to southern New Mexico and south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico. It grows in brushy slopes and open plains. This USDA Plant Profile on the Mountain Laurel does not show it as growing in Colorado, at all. 

You may have to accept that the "mountain" in the common name of the plant refers to Texas mountains, which in Colorado would probably be called "flat ground." Sorry.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 


 

 

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