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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 29, 2012

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Seeds and Seeding, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Planting Texas Mountain Laurel to transplant to Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My daughter would like to incorporate a tree planting ceremony in her wedding in Texas. The seedling would be planted in a pot for a few years and later transplanted in a yard when they buy a home. Would you recommend the Texas Mountain Laurel? If not, what would you recommend. She lives in Dallas.

ANSWER:

According to the USDA Plant Profile Map the Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is not a plant that grows naturally in North Central Texas. The closest it is shown growing natively is Travis County, where Austin is. That would indicate to us that the soils and climate are not totally hospitable to this plant. If you follow the plant link above to our webpage on that plant, especially pay attention to the Propagation Instructions, from which we extracted this information:

"Because it is impossible to dig up the entire root, the plant often goes into shock and dies."

So, it's a lovely idea, and perhaps some sort of ceremonial planting in a decorative container could be done, even just planting a seed, or several seeds, just to make sure one takes root. But it would probably be better to let it live out its life in the container, so it could be moved wherever and given appropriate soil in the pot. According to our webpage, here are its growing conditions that could be observed in a container plant. See our How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants.

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Dry, rocky, well-drained, preferably calcareous soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Needs good drainage."

You would need to use a cactus/succulent potting mix, perhaps adding some decomposed granite to up the alkaline content in the soil and contribute to good drainage. You didn't say when the wedding was scheduled, but this shrub blooms purple in February and March. Transplanting a little bare stick bush wouldn't be too glamorous but the sentimentality of planting seeds would be appropriate and if those seeds never sprouted or grew into a garden plant, who's going to know?

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Container Gardens Questions

Container native plants for New York area
June 10, 2009 - I live near Lake Ontario (zip 14098). Would like to know what to plant in window boxes that have southern exposure and are in direct sun 4-6 hrs a day
view the full question and answer

Growing conditions for Giant Coneflower from San Antonio
August 09, 2013 - Rudbeckia maxima is considered to be a perennial plant for the sun but I have had a difficult time maintaining it in a pot in full sun before attempting to plant. Do you feel that it will survive and...
view the full question and answer

Plant that can move from outside to inside for Denton, TX
December 14, 2008 - I am looking for a plant that is either native to Texas or is well acclimated to the Denton TX area that can move from a covered outside area to an adjacent indoor area behind large glass walls, to a ...
view the full question and answer

Salt and wind tolerant plants for small containers in NC
July 28, 2010 - We need two plants that will go in raised planters. Will be in full sun with lots of wind. Salt water nearby. Will have to keep plants sorta short I guess. We cannot find anything, although we see...
view the full question and answer

Native small tree or shrub for container in San Angelo, Texas
July 01, 2010 - We live in San Angelo TX and are looking for some type of a bush/tree that will grow in a pot in a shaded area..we would like something that would grow to be about 5-6 feel tall and be rather narrow.....
view the full question and answer

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