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PlantFiles: Texas Mountain Laurel, Mescal Bean
Calia secundiflora

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Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Calia
Species: secundiflora (sek-und-ee-FLOR-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Sophora secundiflora

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

55 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Shrubs
Trees

Height:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Spacing:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Violet/Lavender

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Foliage:
Evergreen
Shiny/Glossy-Textured

Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 44 photos.
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Profile:

30 positives
10 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive nbaltz On Mar 27, 2014, nbaltz from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

Probably one of my favorite shrubs. It is slow growing, but can be pruned into a nicely shaped small tree given sufficient time. My plant thrives incredibly well planted next to a southwest facing block wall that receives punishing reflective heat during the Phoenix summer. It seems the hotter it is, the better this plant will grow. Stays evergreen throughout the year and from February-March its flowers produces a marvelous scent rivaled only by freesia. The Texas Mountain Laurel is a host plant for gentista broom moth caterpillars. In early spring and middle of the fall, the freshest growth is defoliated by these caterpillars which form a silk-like tent around the ends of the branches.

Positive robertaelaine On Apr 3, 2013, robertaelaine from Hebron, TX wrote:

I need an answer to my question about how to treat a
Texas Mountain Laurel with pale green, unhealthy leaves.

Elaine Simmons

Positive Bronto On Sep 2, 2011, Bronto from Scottsdale, AZ wrote:

Remarkable plant, 3 year established specimen withstood 116F Phoenix heat, near a hot masonry wall with midday sun. In this position it did require daily irrigation, and grew vigorously in spite of the cactus shriveling heat. Does not seem to drop leaves even in winter. Subject to a summer caterpillar which attacked the new growing leaves, treated with Sevin and physical removal of the pests.

Neutral Mimmie On Apr 19, 2011, Mimmie from Granbury, TX wrote:

I live in Granbury a few miles SW of Ft Worth on the Brazos River with LIMESTONE and alkaline soil but my beautiful 5 yr old TX Mountain Laurel has never bloomed. I get excited and anticipate the "grapes" each spring and then nothing. Plenty of sun. What sadness! Does it bloom here before the new leaves grow or after? Maybe April is too early here.

Positive rkmontg342 On Apr 17, 2011, rkmontg342 from Sugar Land, TX wrote:

We have a huge Texas Mountain Laurel tree in our front yard. It blooms usually about the end of February into March. The bees have a ball. The birds enjoy its branches including the little hummers who rest there. The lawn service employees rest in its shade at lunch time. We have it stacked because the multi-trunks are leaning. Hurricane Ike hit and took the middle trunk which was not stacked. Now, from certain angles, it looks split down the middle from ground to top. We are hoping that space will eventually fill in with new branches. Meanwhile, we are having trouble finding a trustworthy tree company to come and look to see if the current stakes need to be replaced. Or, the trunks need more stakes. Overall, this is a great tree and makes it through drought and cold snaps.

Positive beazert On Mar 5, 2011, beazert from Decatur, TX wrote:

I love this little tree, but it is definitely variable in what it will or won't do. I planted four in a line about 8 feet apart five years ago. One is 4' high and bushy; the others haven't grown much at all (could be because they are NOT in well-drained soil), and of those, one gets terribly chewed up by caterpillars. Of the others I have planted, three were finally killed by caterpillars last year; the other two are doing just fine and don't seem to get infested at all. I had read that it wouldn't handle the cold (it gets to 9 degrees of so here), but that has not seemed to be an issue.

Positive wormfood On Jun 1, 2010, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I went to transplant a 2" seedling from a small pot to the ground. The root was 8" long ! I planted the root as deep as it needed and it's doing very well.

Positive ainethewise On May 23, 2010, ainethewise from San Antonio, TX wrote:

We have a large one in our backyard. It blooms beautifully and is covered with seed pods. It reaches as high as the top of our roof. I also tried to propogate seeds but with no luck. However, they seem to just sprout naturally all under the tree. I have been digging them up by the handfuls and putting them in one gallon pots. At first, I tried transplanting them and they died. Now, I fill the bottom and the top of the pot with mulch. Put in dirt and the little plant. Keep mostly in the shade and drench with water every few days and they are doing fine. We had put out a couple of nursery grown plants a year ago and they lost almost all their leaves when we planted them. They are fine now. I think it is just too hot in San Antonio and too much sun for the new seedlings. Don't know what to do with all of these little ones.

Neutral amscram On May 7, 2010, amscram from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I bought a little plant in Austin, TX 10 years ago and it's about 6 feet tall now. Sometimes it blooms (love the grape kool-aid scent!) and puts out beautiful lustrous green shoots; but then certain branches will die back during some, but not all years. I realize that it prefers the drier climate of Texas and is probably not all that happy here in humid South Louisiana, but it has hung in there!

Positive kwilson55 On Jul 25, 2009, kwilson55 from El Paso, TX wrote:

This is an awesome tree. I was told to water the heck out of it for the first three years. Then don't water to much. I have had ours for seven years now. It is 8ft. tall & about 12 ft. wide. It is beautiful!!
Here is my problem: It has so many caterpillars, then they weave a web. Loll like it kills the new growth. I had to cut off the new growth. A lot of it. I spray it with insecticide now for three months. We have been having a lot of rain here in El Paso.

Good Luck with yours...........

Neutral trackinsand On Jul 9, 2009, trackinsand from mid central, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

i just got tired of waiting for this one to grow. i think it grew 3" in 2 yrs. and the citrus root weevils loved it so i dug it up. i had high hopes for this one but my expectations were too high-that grape kool-aid thing got to me!

Positive jimmycade On May 23, 2009, jimmycade from San Antonio, TX wrote:

We live in San Antonio. We purchased a single plant from Home Depot that was about a foot tall from a 1 gallon container. It had one bloom on it. After the first six months I ignored it. Now, three years later it is well over 8 feet tall and it has bloomed (fully) two years in a row.

Positive Pat107 On May 22, 2009, Pat107 from Cedar Park, TX wrote:

My husband and I live north of Austin Texas. We planted a our small Mountain Laurel about 3 yrs ago. Beware: this tree is a slow grower! We did not realize this when we planted it. If you are looking for a fast grower and for it to flower right away, you may want to choose something else. We truly enjoy the beauty of this tree and the blooms this year were gorgeous! I noticed the seed pods on ours for the first time this year. Knowing how slowly this tree grows, I think we will just buy another tree and much larger this time. I enjoyed reading everyones comments on this beautiful tree!

Positive kayleerae On Apr 16, 2009, kayleerae from Huntington, TX wrote:

This plant was a gift for my birthday from a friend. She could not find it in our local nurseiers so she had to order it. It was 2 years before I ever saw a bloom. I must saw it was very beautiful. This plant grows very slowly for me. I dare not take the chance on moving it now. I have had it about 6 years and it may have grown 10-16 inches. It is now at about 2 ft tall. Again this year, has it has for the past 4 years, gave me a handful of blooms. I never knew to look for the seed pods. I will be on the look out now for sure as it has just finished my yearly handful of blooms. Any suggestions on helping it bloom more.

Positive ptkexpres On Apr 15, 2009, ptkexpres from Rolla, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:

I grew this wonderful plant when I lived in Stephenville, TX and it delighted me when in bloom with the fragrance of grape Koolade. To my regret it is not hardy in zone 5 where I now live! :- (

Neutral pongsak On Nov 8, 2008, pongsak from Chiang Mai
Thailand (Zone 11) wrote:

I grow this plant from seeds for 6 months now. I have two seedlings and they still have only 4 leaves. Very slow. Should I do anything to help them grow faster?

Positive laura1234 On Apr 15, 2008, laura1234 from Menard, TX wrote:

we planted about 5 seeds per hole last year as we heard the seeds can be tricky (we didn't try soaking or nicking the first). several came up after a few weeks, much longer than other seeds, so be patient. all of the seedlings lasted through the winter, and it gets quite cold here--10F was the lowest.

now this spring, i had 3 more pop up in a space where a little one was already growing! which leads me to believe that the seeds aren't so hard to grow after all, you just have to be very, very patient with them. they seem to lie dormant for a long time if conditions aren't right for sprouting.

Positive Kada On Jan 29, 2008, Kada from Southern
Taiwan wrote:

i use a thin file or serrated knife to nick the opposite side as the eye of the seed....just barely going through the entire outer red shell...then soak for only one day as it will expand a LOT if nicked right. plant in soil and we had them sprout in no more than 1 week.

here in taiwan they are are only 2 feet at 1.5 years :( but thats grown in pots, not in the ground.

Positive Noeule On Mar 2, 2007, Noeule from Houston, TX wrote:

My friend and I have tried several methods of spouting mature, dry Texas Mountain Laurel seeds that we collected while hunting wild hogs in Uvalde Texas. I will not bore you with all the methods that did not work. This is the one that works for me at least 90% of the time. This plant also grows wild on property we own near San Marcos TX.

1. Collect seeds from the ground below Mountain Laurel plants or harvest from mature pods.
2. Drill a hole through the eye (attachment points) of each seed toward the center using a dremel, fordum, or other power drill. Drill sufficiently to penetrate the meat of the seed about 1-2 millimeter. I use a V shaped grinder bit rather than a wood bit. It takes considerable pressure to drill the holes. You will need a method of holding the seeds steady for drilling. I place them in a line along the opening in the jaws of a vise opened about inch not clamped in the vise.
3. Soak drilled seeds in warm water for 2 days. Just poor off and replace the water 2-3 times per day if you cannot keep the water warm. The seeds will swell to about double their original size.
4. Plant seeds in pots with pointed end pointing up on top of soil and cover with a half inch of sand. I suggest pots that are at least 5 inches deep. The roots will grow down quickly through the soil faster than the top grows up. Keep the plantings moist and warm until they are ready to transplant from the pots to your landscape.

Following the above method will produce seedlings about one inch tall in about 3-4 weeks.

Positive Gustichock On Mar 9, 2006, Gustichock from Tandil
Argentina (Zone 10b) wrote:

I love this tree!
First time I saw it was in Arizona. Its fruit look like a big peanut shell!
Its red seeds are very hard to break! I was so nahive back in those days that I seeded them directly without pre-soaking them or without rubbing them against sandpaper! Three years later they are still coming out in different pots!
Excellent surprise! I only have three! It's a slow growing tree and I can't wait until they bloom!!

Positive lp117 On Feb 12, 2006, lp117 from Santa Maria, CA wrote:

We planted this over two years ago and finally this spring (Feb) it has blooms all over and finally showing some signs of life and growing new leaves! We are in central California!!

Neutral vossner On Apr 10, 2005, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

i love the the grape koolaid scent in the blooms but brother! this has been an incredibly slow plant for me. Planted in full sun w/ adequate water, don't know what I'm doing wrong, if anything.

Positive aurora222 On Mar 14, 2005, aurora222 from Victoria, TX wrote:

My tree is in full bloom and I should have some seeds to share in about a month, if anyone is interested. Hopefully, you will be able to get them to sprout.

Neutral PvillePlanter On Nov 8, 2004, PvillePlanter from Pflugerville, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I like these a lot, but they are not the easiest to grow or maintain. Germination is quite slow and spotty as is subsequent growth. Roots grow very deep so they need deep watering but require very good drainage. They also don't compete very well for space, water, or nutrients with other close plantings. I use to have 2 of them but I lost a well established one quite suddenly to cotton rot last summer. Which reminds me, they are not very disease resistant either.

Positive Martha_Johnson On Aug 10, 2004, Martha_Johnson from Lampasas, TX wrote:

I purchased four trees that had beautiful blooms full of fragrance from a nursery, and they are are doing really well. However, I found one with branches covered in webbing with caterpillers inside (gross!!!!).

I researched the caterpiller and found that they are Genista caterpillars...I sprayed with a pesticide and cut off the damaged foliage--hopefully I didn't kill my beautiful tree.

I really love my trees - I hate the pest not the tree!

Positive Tcrow On Jul 16, 2004, Tcrow from Georgetown, TX wrote:

I collected about 100 red seeds from the ground at the Austin Zilker Garden's about five years ago. I put them in the yard in different locations and long since forgot about them. At the time, I didn't know about sanding or cracking the shell to get it started.

This spring, I was weeding a rose bush in a pot and pulled one of these out. I was so excited. I have since put the two sprouts (out of 100) into individual pots. I hope these two make beautiful trees. I can't wait to get my hands on more seeds.

Positive rntx22 On Jun 21, 2004, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I live in the Houston area & have admired a row of these trees in my neighbors yard for several years. Last spring I got curious took a seed pod. (Can't remember if it was on the ground or on the tree. It still had the soft velvety coat)

Not knowing what kind of tree it was or how to plant it, I just opened the shell, took out the seed, and plopped it in a small clay pot with regular potting soil and put it on the patio. No special treatments, that was all I did. Guess I got lucky because lo and behold, a few weeks later it sprouted!! By the end of the growing season last year, it was 6" tall & had 8 leaves. It pretty much stayed that way all winter, then this spring it had a nice growth spurt. Now it's about 8" tall, has 38 leaves, and the beginning of 7 little branches.

I got online today to find out what type of tree it is becasue I am worried that I'm not caring for it properly. It hasn't grown since early this spring (now I know that's typical for this tree) and the newer small leaves on top are starting to curl a bit.

Neutral annabr On Apr 29, 2004, annabr wrote:

I live in Houston and recently planted 200 seeds in small containers. I read the information about soaking and nicking to help seeds germinate. We got excited when we saw 10 little sprouts come up about two and half weeks later. After about two more weeks and no new sprouts we got curious.

I dug a little in some of the containers and found following:
Seed was not there; itlooked like inside of Cadbury egg.
Seed looked like a tiny ball of sand; in some cases I could see really little white bugs and eggs.

Neutral texasrose57 On Mar 23, 2004, texasrose57 from Pipe Creek, TX wrote:

We live in the Texas Hill Country between San Antonio and Bandera. The mountain laurels grow wild and are absolutley beautiful this time of year. The majority are a deep purple with a few that are more lavender in color. Interestingly enough, I have 2 pure white trees behind our house. I have collected the beans underneath and will attempt to get them started but I have been unable to find any data regarding white mountain laurels.

Positive frostweed On Mar 22, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Texas Mountain Laurel is a beautiful large shrub or small tree. Mine is about six feet tall now, after 5 years of loving care and this spring for the first time it came into full bloom. What a beautiful sight it is, and the scent perfumes the whole yard. We are thrilled and feel blessed to have it. We highly recommend it, but it is not for the impatient gardener.

Positive jperrault On Mar 22, 2004, jperrault from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Something is eating the new leafs off the montain laurel and I'm wondering if I should put out slug bait or spray the tree.

Neutral new2texastoo On Mar 21, 2004, new2texastoo wrote:

I just collected about 200 laurel seeds, and wonder if it would help just to crack the hard red shell.

Positive Pua On Mar 9, 2004, Pua from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

A truly beautiful shrub. They make us smile when they come in in bloom at the nursery I work at in SA. Two tips to keep in mind when purchasing one:
l. If it's not in bloom, look for one with evidence that it has bloomed before. Otherwise you could have a long wait for this "mind of its own" bloomer.
2. Don't ever fertilize it.
Pua

Positive KARLAE On Jan 9, 2004, KARLAE from Freeport, TX wrote:

We have one close to the house in a full sun southwest corner of the sidewalk and another one about 30 feet away.

It's about 10' tall and has bloomed a lot for the last few years.

I just let the pods fall off the tree and lay in the bark mulch underneath until the shells rot. We usually have 8-10 seedlings at any given time. I've had good luck replanting the seedlings into pots. .

Positive htop On Jan 9, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

An attractive tree that provides beautiful blooms and wonderful aroma when in bloom. It is usually a very slow grower, however. I read somewhere that you must have 2 mountain laurel trees near each other in order for them to bloom.

Positive Cathi On Oct 16, 2003, Cathi from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

Excellent native plant. Smells like grape Koolaid when it blooms. I sand and thin the hard coat shell. Very heat tolerant, drought tolerant. Even did well in our ice storm last February. Still bloomed on time.

Positive dstartz On Aug 2, 2003, dstartz from Deep South Texas, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The seeds for this plants must be collected while the pod is still green to be truly viable. Nick or deeply scar the seed coat; soak seed for approx. 24 hours. If the seed swells it will most probably germinate.

This plant dislikes being transplanted because of it's deep tap root, so use a DEEP container(i.e. 44 oz fountain drink cup) for starting seeds.

Seeds can take up to 6-8 months to germinate.

Positive TyKelly On Jul 28, 2003, TyKelly from Mullin, TX wrote:

Collect the seed pods while still green and before seed turn hard and red. Plant at once for best results.

Positive coastcourt On Apr 29, 2003, coastcourt wrote:

Planted about 3 yrs ago about 3ft tall in a slightly sloped SW bed corner. Told by nursery not to expect blooms or much growth for years. Surprise! Its at least 10 ft tall and presented 3 handful size deep purple blooms in March. I'm waiting for the seeds to mature in the cluster and rattle. Problem: It has to be staked and I wonder if I shoud have trimed it. I don't know if it is shrub or tree catagory..Some branches are coming out from bottom.

Neutral amazing On Feb 19, 2003, amazing from Tucson, AZ wrote:

After researching propagation on Southwest Gardening sites, I broke open the hard shell and rubbed the hard red seed with sandpaper. They have been soaking for 1 week in water. I'm going to try planting them soon in pots with a mixture of our clay soil and potting soil. I hope this is the proper method. I'll let you know if they sprout.

After 2 more weeks of soaking, they were planted and watered regularly. It is now April 7 and a sprout has just appeared!!! One sprout out of approximately 15 seeds. Hopefully, there are more to come!

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Vincent, Alabama
Buckeye, Arizona
Florence, Arizona
Hereford, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona (2 reports)
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Queen Creek, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (4 reports)
Wickenburg, Arizona
Canoga Park, California
Riverside, California
Brooksville, Florida
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Wauchula, Florida
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Henderson, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Roswell, New Mexico
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Moyock, North Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Adkins, Texas
Alice, Texas (2 reports)
Anderson, Texas
Arlington, Texas (2 reports)
Austin, Texas (7 reports)
Belton, Texas (2 reports)
Brady, Texas
Brazoria, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Canyon Lake, Texas
Cedar Park, Texas
Coldspring, Texas
Columbus, Texas
Coppell, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Decatur, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Dickinson, Texas
Dripping Springs, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Elmendorf, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Georgetown, Texas (3 reports)
Granbury, Texas
Hallettsville, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
Hondo, Texas (2 reports)
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Huntington, Texas
Iredell, Texas
Katy, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Kyle, Texas
Lampasas, Texas
League City, Texas
Leakey, Texas
Leander, Texas (2 reports)
Little Elm, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Menard, Texas
Midland, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Mullin, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Pflugerville, Texas
Pipe Creek, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
Portland, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Angelo, Texas (2 reports)
San Antonio, Texas (8 reports)
San Marcos, Texas (2 reports)
Southlake, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Stephenville, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Tarpley, Texas
Temple, Texas
The Colony, Texas
Uvalde, Texas



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