texas mountain laurel

adp_abq(7b NM)September 27, 2004

I just bought one at lowes (sophora secundiflora). They are supposed to be drought tolerant and native to new mexico and texas. Later I read that they are not hardy above 4000 feet. Does this count them out as a viable bush/tree for albuquerque? Has anyone had any success with them here?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lantana_babe(z9 AZ)

The Texas Moountain Laurel is sensitive to frost which may explain the altitude restriction. They grow wonderfully in Phoenix but do need to be covered during a frost warning.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 11:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
SteveNMZ8a(Z8a NM)

Great tree to try in ALB! They are native in SE NM, in the Guadalupes..I have never had dieback, even in multi day freezes to low teens/single digits. Super xeric, I never water. They do grow very slowly under these conditions tho. Put on a hot wall, water to establish then forget about it. Lantana_babe, don't think you need to worry about covering!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 9:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
adp_abq(7b NM)

Excellent! I'll plant it this weekend. I have to put it on the southeast corner of my house(against the wall). It is the only place I have room. Hopefully it will work out there.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know here in S/W Texas they grow well, There's one in Hallettsville by the library that blooms beautiful, I've gotten seeds off it and my neighbor planted some seeds and gave the hanging basket to me. There is about about 6 growing and I will transplant them in my yard this spring. They do have beautiful lilac like blooms Margaret

Here is a link that might be useful: seed swapping site

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 8:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live in the southern Hill Country of Texas, on hills where they naturally grow. We had a fair amount of dieback once when we had an extremely rare cold front with the temp getting down to 5 F. Other than that, they hasn't been any problems with dieback that I can remember over the 14 years I've been here. We get down to the high teens on occasion here, but usually no lower than the twenties. They're all over the place here, drought tolerant and needing no care. Some people in the city lose an occasional plant from excessive overwatering and fertilizing, or so I've heard. But that's pretty rare, and easy to avoid.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2005 at 9:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
adp_abq(7b NM)

Well so far the one i planted in the fall has not died. It can get cold here, going down to 0-5 degrees in winter (it has been a very mild winter this year though), which is why I don't see anyone recommending them north of T or C, NM. Although I spoke to someone in washington state that was selling seed and he rated them to zone 7. He said he had the variety that grew in the guadalupe mtns of new mexico and they were more cold hardy than the texas hill country variety. We'll see. I don't know which one I got. The sticker at lowes said zone 7, but who knows. I am glad they like alkaline soil because that's all we have here.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2005 at 9:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It may be a while before you get blooms, depending on the size you bought. I have several that bloomed very well last year. But I have one that I started from seed in 1995 and it has yet to bloom. Not sure why. when and if you want to start from seed, here is a hint. If left to dry on the tree the pods and seeds get VERY hard. Once the pods fill out, but are still gray, fuzzy and soft, open them and take the seeds out before they get hard. When the seeds are just beginning to turn red is the best time.
FYI: The seeds are poison, containing quinoline alkaloids. And because they are pretty & red children are attracted to them. So be careful with children around. Also the mescal bean that tequilla is made with.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 3:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
azdeb(se az)

Can you grow these in containers?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 6:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you should be OK with it if it says zone 7. I also think Lowe's guarante their plants for a year.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 8:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FYI..... Yesterday I found a bloom on the one I planted from seed in 1996. It is planted as an understory tree near liveoaks. It is about 30" tall.
I have seen them at nurseries here in huge containers. I would think since they are so slow growing that a container would be fine if you wrapped the container in the coldest time of your winter.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 9:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I Have A Texas Mountain Laurel, My Dad got is 15 years ago and has produced alot of Flowers and attract a bunch of those fat black bees :-P the seeds sprout quick for me, if i put them in potting soil about an inch deep will germinate between 2-3 weeks if not less, also i have tried peat moss and have had good germation rates also um well im just posting to see if any one wants germinate them these are the methods that have worked well for me and that im in texas and the weather is always warm/hot :-P and i guess helps it ok well email me if u want pics. we have kept it as a small tree to collect the seeds and sprout them and plant them anywhre we can :-P. Oh also if you take them out its hard for them to generate roots i dont know why maybe time of season, or i dunno but when i just pull them out of the ground they seen to dry or take a while to take root but oh well

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 5:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey this is the first time i get worms in my texas mountain laurel....any other people experincing this and how do u get rid of them.....ahhhhhhhhh help

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 12:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i just wanted to add a little info here. the laurels grow very long tap roots and do not like to be transplanted more than about 2-3 feet from where you pulled them up from the ground. i would recommend starting them in a tall container before planting them in the ground. be VERY gentle with the root system, it is VERY sensitive and any damage during moving can cause stunted and delayed growth/blooms. also fertilizing for faster growth is unneccessary, faster growth can actually delay blooms by up to 3-5 yrs. some of these trees have been known not to bloom until they are more than 10 yrs old. they are slow growers and will often go thru periods of dormancy. im not sure what triggers the sleep or wakes them up. my guess is temp and water. remember, texas is green in the hill country but it is still a dry rocky sandy desert on top of old limestone. too much water or not enough heat can cause little growth and death. your best bet is to plant the seed directly where you want it or in a container that will allow for a 6-10 inch long taproot. alot of root will develop before the plants start to grow above the soil. if you planted the seed in the yard expect the root to grow as long as 2ft before the plant itself is 6-12 inches. breaking off any part of the root system can be detrimental during the first couple years of growth. if you are having trouble starting the seeds, drill a tiny hole in the top just into the flesh or score it thru the shell wih a file . the shell is super tough and may take some creativity to break into. ive heard of rubbing them raw with sandpaper if they cant be easily scored. afterwards soak them in warm ( simulate texas rain)water for 24-48 hrs. seeds that swell to about 3x size will grow quickly, others will take longer. you can place them with the hole/score side pointed up on top of potting soil, then layer about 1/2 inch of sand on top. this will mimick the dry caliche dirt in texas. i would recommend a bottom layer of whatever soil the tree will be planted in after it is removed from the pot to aclimate the sensitive roots system. these trees do not require watering most of the time. excessive water will kill them off. i would not recommend any pruning as it will inhibit blooms, most of the time the tree naturally grows into a rounded or umbrella shape. if you do decide to prune, leave the flowers and "snakes" ( i call them that too:). leave the seed pods on the tree until they fall off or most of the green has toned down toward greyish brown. the seeds need time to mature. you can take them out of the pods and grow them just as they begin to turn from light green to pink and this may help speed up the germination process because the shell is still soft and thin. it is not unheard of for a seed to wait 2-3 years to finally sprout. this is a SLOW growing tree that can be trained into a bush or tree art( like benches etc) it can be trimmed to have a single central trunk or multiple trunks. ive even seen one trained to be a trellis. i think they look best with 5-6 trunks, it helps spread the canopy and gives more flowers. they enjoy hot days and full sun the most. as for the bugs that eat them, try to find out what sort of birds eat the bugs and try to attract them to your yard with seed or homes. otherwise i would look for a biodegradable spray like lemon juice or vinegar or orange oil. make sure these dont hurt the tree before you go all out on them. if i remember correctly the best time to spray for pests is during july-august while its the hottest.

this tree is a lovely plant and once established(3-5yrs)it takes nothing but time and patience to grow. make sure you keep the seeds away from small children, they look just like candy. in most cases the seed shell is so thick and smooth that it passes thru the body without harm. however if triggered it can generate a potent toxin that i believe is semi narcotic. this plant has a bonus to being poisonous however, deer wont touch it! i doubt that livestock would be much interested in it either. this plant is supposed to be very disease resistant but has been known to catch things (like cotton rot). if you live in a colder climate it may be more inclined to sickness and pests that are resilant to its toxins. also colder wetter areas may be hard on the roots. if you do plant north of texas give it a little hill so excess water can drain away from the tree.add a layer of dark, heat absorbing material to the base of the tree, i have seen trees in cold climates with shredded tires mixed with cedar for mulch and it did an awesome job of keeping heat and excess moisture. i wouldnt worry about wrapping it up in the cold unless you get one of the sudden death defying freezes mid spring. i lived in the texas hill country for 15 yrs and it never really got cold enough to do major damage. however areas prone to ice stoms might be a problem. you could try saving a budding spring tree during a sudden freeze by using the fruit growers trick. turn on a sprinkler before the ice comes in and let it wet the tree until the ice is done. this may help keep ice crystals from shredding the cell walls. however it could send it back to sleep for a couple years as well. here again drainage is super important. try placing some pastic sheeting around the base of the tree to divert the water away from the main roots. this might also help insulate the roots. i havent tried it yet as our new trees here in oklahoma havent been started. ill update yall next spring if they survive the winter.

i hope this info helps!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, this is the exact same thing I am trying to do! I live in Los Lunas, NM and I have been wondering if a Texas mountain laurel would do okay here. Which Lowes did you get the laurel at?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
adp_abq(7b NM)


It should do fine in Los Lunas. I found out though that you'll have better luck if you choose texas mountain laurel varieties that are from New Mexico (Guadalupe Mountains). I know that recently I saw some 5 gallon ones at Plants of the Southwest on 4th street. Bernardo Beach native plants also has some that are from that area. I would suggest going to one of those two nursuries.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 8:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have one that did fine this winter but browned a bit from cold. It is growing fine now. Needs sun and warmth.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 11:42PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Searching for Palo Verde 'Desert Museum'
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have searched...
when to start
Hi, When are folks starting some seeds indoors? What...
Anyone out there have a joshua tree?
I have been trying to find some information on joshua...
Red rock used for desert landscaping, how hot??
I live in an HOA with lovely natural desert dirt and...
Creosote near Isleta/Albuquerque
Just thought I'd throw this out there. Recently I drove...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™