En EspaŅol

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?


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
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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 16, 2012

From: Hallettsville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Mountain Laurel not growing in Hallettesville, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Mountain laurel has been planted over 2 years. Well drained,sandy soil, full sun. They have not grown or set blooms despite occasional all purpose fertilizers. What is wrong?


Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a handsome Texas native that by most accounts is very slow growing, and it is way too early to be be looking for blooms. (maybe in three more years). Checking on its plant profile page we see the following 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 seem to be doing things right if your pH is high enough. However, fertilizing a new transplant is generally not recommended.

Since your plant has been planted only two years, it could be suffering from transplant shock. I’m going to provide  you with several links that have information starting with planting techniques, transplant shock  (also see), and ideas about proper watering.

This distribution map for Mountain Laurel shows that it doesn’t occur in Lavaca County, but if you are providing the right growning conditions, that may not be a problem.


Texas Gardener  (scroll down to Mountain Laurel)



From the Image Gallery

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Trees Questions

Speed of growth of quercus agrifolia from Torrance CA
September 20, 2012 - I planted a quercus agrifolia in my front yard about 2 years ago without considering its ultimate size (it's about 10 feet from the sidewalk and 10 feet from our house). The tree is growing really fa...
view the full question and answer

Survivability of birch trees in Texas
August 16, 2006 - Is it known whether Gray birch (Betula populifolia Marsh) will grow in North Texas? It seems like the only birch variety which might - and how short is a "short lifespan" for a tree?
view the full question and answer

Failure of smoke tree to bloom in Alburtis PA
September 07, 2009 - For whatever reason, my smoke tree did not bloom during its second season. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Locating a Western Soapberry Tree for Montezuma IN
November 20, 2009 - Hello, I hope you can help. We homeschool in Indiana (Dad is a native Texan, transplanted). We are looking for someone with a healthy, mature & fruiting Western Soapberry Tree..sapindus drumondii.
view the full question and answer

Tall privacy hedge in Fort Worth, Texas
January 15, 2010 - I need a fast growing plant that reaches a height of 14 to 16 feet suitable as a privacy hedge. Prefer minimal maintenance and disease resistant. I have a 3 story condo being built behind my home in...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center