Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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

More Shrubs Questions

Transplanting adventitious shoots of a mountain laurel in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - Is it possible to transplant branches (shoots) growing from a mountain laurel that was chopped down? Some are two years old and several feet tall (but not yet blooming) and some as small as a foot. ...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs or ground cover for north-facing landscape in Ft. Worth
March 23, 2010 - Need native plant ideas for a landscaping bed against the house facing north. Already has 1 Beautyberry but two others died of root rot last year due to incredibly high water table in our area. Old ...
view the full question and answer

Pride of Barbados seed for Ft. Worth TX
February 07, 2013 - When can you plant the Pride of Barbados plant seeds and how to go about it in Fort Worth Texas?
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 12, 2014 - We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
view the full question and answer

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