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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.

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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.

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Sunday - September 16, 2012

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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.

Plantanswers.com

Texas Gardener  (scroll down to Mountain Laurel)

Aridzonetrees.com

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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