The Texas Mountain Laurel Tree

Last Updated on September 29, 2022 by Paul Guzman

The Texas Mountain Laurel Tree (Calia secundiflora) also called the Mescal bean.  A great flowering small to medium-sized evergreen tree. It will produce very fragrant purple hanging flowers in early spring, usually around late March to early April.

They grow up to 15-maybe 20 ft. tall and about 15 ft. wide.  It loves full sun and thrives in and around the southwest.  It is a moderate water tree once it becomes established. Typically, after the third year of planting.

The Texas Mountain Laurel can easily be trained into a small to medium-sized tree.  Prune off the lower branches and suckers that will grow at the bottom of the tree (see image below).  The flower smells like grape Kool-Aid!

Where to plant this tree?

Place it in full sun and water about every other day during the first 2-3 years after planting.  Water about twice per month during the cold seasons.  It tolerates poor soil but does better with well-composted soil.

The Texas Mountain Laurel Tree

The Texas Mountain Laurel Tree

The Texas Mountain Laurel as a bush

Here is the bush version of the above before trimming.  The blooms have expired but they remain green throughout the year.  Here is a page on some great Desert Evergreen Shrubs.

The Texas Mountain Laurel Tree
Texas Mountain Laurel as a bush

Problems with The Texas Mountain Laurel Tree?

I see this tree in my landscapes throughout my city Las Cruces, NM.  It is a disease and insect-resistant tree.  However, it will produce large seed pods that are toxic (see image below). It is important to be careful with these seeds when handling them.

Worms will attack this tree and they love the flower and the foliage.  The Genista moth larvae are its main problem, also called the sophora worm.  The best spray to use is Bacillus Thuringiensis also called BT.  It comes in liquid and or powder form.  Ask for a product called Thuricide (which contains BT) at your local nursery, it will do the job. BT is a biological pesticide.  Learn more about this at Wikipedia.

Go organic

Try picking these worms and their larvae one by one.  Use a good pair of tweezers to do the job.  You can also do your best to attract birds to your trees or garden.  Most birds will eat worms and larvae.  Orioles and warblers love them.  A good idea is to place a water fountain or large birdbath to attract these type of birds to your area.

The seed pods of the Texas Mountain Laurel

They are highly intoxicating and so is the foliage.  Here is a great post about the seed pods from the Texas Hill Country Website. 

The Texas Mountain Laurel Tree
The flower and seed pods of the Texas Mountain Laurel.
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    • Daisy Stanley
    • March 13, 2020

    I am a transplanted Texan looking for a Texas Mountain Laurel to plant in my alabama yard. Who sells the plant I want to enjoy it and all I can find are seeds. If you don’t sell the plant do you know who might? It would give me such pleasure. Thanks Daisy

    1. Reply

      Hello, Daisy, you might want to visit Monrovia.com and see if it is available there. They will deliver to your local nursery in Alabama. If your nursery carries Monrovia plants you should be able to have it delivered there.

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