It’s so disappointing when you get no (or few) blooms on your Texas Mountain Laurels! Fear not . . . there may be a few things you can do to help . . . .
Really, these are really some things you should NOT do in order to help your Texas Mountain Laurel bloom more!
- Don’t trim it! Texas Mountain Laurels bloom one year old wood . . . so if you trimmed yours in the fall, you have cut off flower opportunities! One of the things I love about Texas Mountain Laurels, besides those beautiful aromatic blossoms, is how it can be kept a manageable size with a little bit of trimming. Just wait until AFTER the tree has bloomed to trim!
- Don’t fertilize it! This is a native Texas tree – so it should grow beautifully here with nothing but what nature provides. Therein lies the benefit of natives . . . . they are the queens of low maintanence. Another point to note: Most fertilizers are higher in nitrogen than in phosphorous or potash. Nitrogen is the first number in the fertilizer formula and is usually the largest number. Its job is to make a plant green and encourage folliage growth. If a tree is putting all its energy in growing bigger, there’s not much energy left to produce flowers.
- Don’t water it too much! Texas Mountain Laurels grow in the rocky hills of the Texas Hill Country. It doesn’t rain much there and when it does, the excess runs downhill. Plant it in well drained soil. If you live in an area with a large annual rainfall, you may even want to plant it in a bermed or raised bed. NOTE: If you are planting a new Texas Mountain Laurel tree, you must give it regular waterings to get established – just don’t let it stand in soggy soil.
- Plant it in full sun! Finally, something you can do! Eight hours of sunlight is important for Texas Mountain Laurels to bloom well. Although they will grow just fine as an understory tree, don’t expect many flowers from a semi-shaded tree.
- Here’s a bonus tip. Make sure it has a cold winter! Like you have any control over that, right? While we have never read anything regarding “chilling” hours, we have noticed a relationship between the number of cold days (30s and 40s) and number of flowers. The winter of 2016-2017 was pretty non-existant. We had a grand total of two days of winter. Of all the Texas Mountain Laurels for sale at our nursery, about a half bloomed . . . . and then somewhat sparsely. On the other hand, when we have had many, MANY days in the 30s and 40s (like last winter), our trees are packed with blooms!
Protect this year’s growth so you get oodles and oodles of blooms in 2020!