Coral Bean
Cactus in Bloom
Yucca/Mountain Laurel
Yucca/Salt Cedar

Yucca with seed pods
Texas Mountain Laurel
Prickly Pear Cactus
Century Plants in Bloom

Texas Mountain Laurel

  Mountain Laurel seed pods - 6/30/06. Pods are formed after the laurel blooms. At first, the seed pods are soft with a velvety, pliable skin. Later the skin hardens into a woody covering in the same shape as when it was pliable. They may hang on the trees for several years before the pod deteriorates and hard, bright red laurel seeds falls to the ground.

 Mountain Laurels are often found intermixed with other native plants at Indianola. In other locations they can be found in large groves or small groups. Generally, where you find one there will be others nearby.

Growing laurels trees from seeds is not difficult but it can be slow if you leave it up to nature. By that I mean just taking a seed from a pod and planting it in a pot or in your yard. Obviously, nature works but if you want to see a tree grow and bloom in your lifetime, there are three steps you can take to help nature along.

o Score the seeds. This can be done with a coarse file, wheel grinder or just rubbing on a rough concrete surface. All you want to do is remove a small amount of the hard, candy red surface. Just about a 1/8" scratch thru the red shell is all that is needed.

o Soak the seeds in water. This can be done in a cup of water or even a zip lock bag. In a day or two the red seeds will swell and become black in color. Once the seeds have absorbed the water and changed color they are ready to plant. (Leaving them in the water too long may cause them to develop a fungus that may doom your efforts.)

o Plant. If you want to plant a large number of seeds at one time, a small medium such as a peat pots would be a way to go. This way you expend less time and money and get the most tree "starts". Be careful with this technique. A young laurel is like an iceberg. Once you see life above the surface, its roots are probably 5 times longer than the above ground height. Laurels hate to have their roots disturbed. Most won't make it if their tap root has penetrated the bottom of the growing medium and then replant.



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