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
1 rating

Thursday - March 22, 2012

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Shrubs
Title: Mountain laurel planting over Frederickburg limestone
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We have rocky limestone shelves on our property. We want to plant a mountain laurel. Are the roots strong enough to break through the limestone or should we try to find another location? The limestone is about 14-16 inches under regular soil.

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants thinks your chances of the Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) rooting and thriving over a limestone shelf are pretty good.  The plant record has that "It is drought-tolerant, prefers rocky limestone soil, and is native from Central Texas west to New Mexico and south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico."  Even in shelves, the limestone tends to have cracks, holes or separations and the Texas mountain laurel roots are adapted to find and penetrate these opportunities.    14-16 inches of soil is quite a bit when compared the pure rocky soil of the Hill Country where they are known to thrive.  This write-up in a Aggie Horticulture record has similar comments.

  To that end, here are previous Mr Smarty Plants answers where Mountain laurel was recommended for a shrub in Frederickburg and as a candidate as a screen plant in Comfort.

I'd give it a try!

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Container plants for part shade in Bee Cave TX
June 18, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I am looking for plants that will thrive on my covered porch in 3 tall planters. These are meant to help me block an unattractive view out my living room window, so they must...
view the full question and answer

Twenty year old Texas Mountain Laurel isn't blooming.
March 09, 2015 - I have 20-year-old Texas Mountain Laurel in a fairly poor, clay-type soil. It hasn't bloomed very well the last couple years. Can you recommend a fertilizer to improve the blooms?
view the full question and answer

Root growth on non-native Pittisporum Tobira from San Francisco
October 29, 2011 - How do the roots grow and spread for the Pittosporum Tobira shrub? I have one that is about 20 feet tall and wonder how to care for it? Do you have a picture of how the roots grow?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for city lot in Longview, TX
March 19, 2008 - Just bought a city lot in Longview, TX and want to put in some plants at the periphery even before the house is built. Can you recommend any that would be from your list of East TX plants that are pa...
view the full question and answer

Growing Buttonbush in California
May 24, 2015 - For the Buttonbush, how do you keep it consistently moist?
view the full question and answer

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