Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Viability of bluebonnets in Portland, Oregon
April 07, 2008 - My best friend lives in Portland, Oregon, and misses Texas wildflowers terribly. I would really love to send her some bluebonnet seeds (or even other native wildflowers) but I'm wondering if there a...
view the full question and answer

Forecast for 2008 Spring wildflower season
February 18, 2008 - Has there been a forecast made for this spring's bluebonnet and wildflower season?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for an outdoor wedding in New York
February 06, 2009 - I am planning an outdoor wedding in New Rochelle, NY in May. We would like to use native plants. Can you suggests some that we can use in the bouquets and as potted plants? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Locating red clay for wildflower seed balls
September 26, 2007 - I am trying to locate a local source for the Powdered Red Clay spoke about in making wildflower seed balls. I live in Round Rock, Texas and have called many local nursery and no one knows what I am t...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for Birds and Bees in North Texas
December 17, 2015 - I have a small backyard and would love to grow native plants for North Texas. I don't think I can grow trees, but for sure can do 1-2 crape myrtle-size shrubs. I have some rose of Sharon's going on ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.