Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
8 ratings

Saturday - May 28, 2011

From: Clermont, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Growing Mountain Laurel in Georgia
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

While in Texas a few months ago I saw your beautiful Sophora Secundiflora blooming and decided to bring one home to Gainesville, GA and try my luck. I have not planted it yet and it is doing well in its container. What suggestions do you have for planting it in my yard? We have a lot of clay. Do you have any other suggestions on how to keep this plant alive? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is very sad that you have taken our beautiful mountain laurel so far from its native habitat. Please return it back home!

Our mission at the Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.   As Lady Bird Johnson said, native plants "give us a sense of where we are in this great land of ours, I want Texas to look like Texas and Vermont to look like Vermont and every state to look like itself."

I agree that Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is beautiful.  However it is native to only a limited area of Texas and New Mexico.  In it's National Plant Information Network record [the link above] there is a description of its preferred growing conditions.  The soil component is listed as "Dry, rocky, well-drained, preferably calcareous soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay". A clay soil can be OK - but is it well drained?  If not, it may be safer in it's pot! 

Other than that, with my teeth gritted a bit,  I recommend that you check all of the growing conditions listed in that record.  That will give you the best shot at keeping the Mountain Laurel healthy.

                   
Sophora secundiflora
          Sophora secundiflora                Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Information on what Texas wildflowers are disappearing
August 02, 2011 - I was shocked to find that Texas Bluebells were vanishing. What other Texas wildflowers are vanishing? There is an endangered species list but I want to help before my wildflower neighbors before t...
view the full question and answer

Best time for wildflower planting in the Ozarks
April 13, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Ozarks, and have an open bottomland valley area I want to transform into more natives for many reasons. I am starting a 2 acre field of NATIVE grasses (warm sea...
view the full question and answer

Flowers for Central Texas wedding in May
September 27, 2008 - Hi there! I am getting married in Marble Falls, TX in May. My soon to be husband and I are very eco-conscious, and were wondering what type of flowers are local and in season for a Central Texas weddi...
view the full question and answer

Can I grow Texas bluebonnets in Georgia?
May 25, 2010 - Being a native Texan, my mom loves bluebonnets. We live in Georgia, however so I am wondering if I planted some bluebonnets in her yard would they grow? What are the best conditions for bluebonnets ...
view the full question and answer

Planting Suggestions for a Lake Home in Wayne County, MO
April 03, 2014 - We have a lake home in Wayne County, MO at Lake Wappapello. The soil is very rocky. We recently cleared an area around our home of assorted dead trees, some cedars and what seemed like tons of vines. ...
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.