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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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Saturday - May 09, 2015

From: Wagoner, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Can a Texas Mountain Laurel grow in Northeast Oklahoma?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I was born and raised in Texas but am now living in Northeast Oklahoma. I miss the smell of Texas mountain laurels in the spring. Is there any way of getting one to grow here?

ANSWER:

Lets start with a couple of  articles that point out the virtues of this plant. The first  talks about the fragrance of the flowers being like grape bubble gum or grape Kool-Aid. The second  deals with problems involved in digging and transplanting these trees.

WIll it grow in Oklahoma? Well, the name sort of gives us a hint; Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a popular evergreen that prefers rocky limestone soil and  is native from Central Texas west to Mew Mexico and south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico . This USDA distribution map shows that it doesn’t grow close to Waggoneer County, OK. (zoom in to show county leve distribution)

I’ve copied the following from the plant’s NPIN Page

Native Habitat: Brushy slopes; open plains. Common in limestone soils. Well-drained sand, loam, clay, caliche, limestone.
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.

If you can approximate these growing conditions in Wagoner, OK, you may be able to coax a Mountain Laurel to maturity. On the other hand, you may have to go to the Wal-Mart for some grape Kool-Aid.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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