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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - March 07, 2016

From: Schertz, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Propagation, Shrubs
Title: Growing Texas mountain laurel in a pot
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a really good friend who Mom pass away just recently and they were the best of friends. She loved her mother dearly and did tons of stuff together. Recently I posted a picture of a Mountain Laurel tree in full bloom and it brought back good memories for her since her mom LOVED these trees. My friend lives in St. Martinsville, LA and I would love to be able to give her one as a gift. I read they can grow in pots, do you think it would do well in her area in a large pot? Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, Elizabeth Pagiotas

ANSWER:

Yes, Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) should grow in a large container in Louisiana.  I have seen two specimens growing in about 20 gallon containers for several years.  They haven't had a lot of blooms, and I suspect they would be more at home in an even larger pot.  Texas mountain laurel plants growing in the ground send down a tap root deep into the soil.  This is why they they can survive drought in rocky, semi-arid locations.  Even under the best of conditions they grow slowly.

I suggest that you obtain the largest pot that you can manage, plant a sizable specimen in well-draining soil, and have your friend locate the plant in full sun.  This will give her the best chance for a good show of blooms in the spring.

 

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