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Texas Mountain Laurel

(November 2006)

QuestionI have a 5 inch seedling of a mountain laurel (it has blue flowers in the spring) that came from San Antonio. I live in NW Ark and I am keeping it indoors for the winter, but would like to plant it outdoors in the spring. Will it survive the winters here? Please tell me more about keeping it alive.


AnswerI believe the plant you have is a Texas Mountain Laurel - Sophora secundiflora. This is not the true Mountain Laurel or Kalmia latifolia. The Texas Mountain Laurel plant would not be winter hardy in zone 6--NW Arkansas--it won't tolerate temperatures below 10. The Texas Mountain Laurel is an attractive spring-flowering small tree with glossy, evergreen leaves and beautiful purple wisteria-like blooms smelling of grape Kool-aid. It is also called Mescal Bean. They are native to the alkaline soils of the Texas Hill Country. They will not tolerate acidic soils. I think your best bet would be to continue to grow it in a container and store it in a protected spot for the winter.

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