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Description

The Mescal bean, also known as Texas mountain laurel, slowly grows into a large evergreen shrub or small tree, eventually 15-20 ft. tall, 10-15 ft. wide. Dark shiny green leaves that are pinnately divided into 1-2 in. long leaflets; colorful clusters of highly fragrant violet pea-shaped flowers occur in early spring. Numerous silver-gray bean-like pods grow 2-5 in. long, persist for several months and contain highly poisonous seeds.

Mescal bean is native to arid climate regions of the southwest, from New Mexico and Texas to northern Mexico. It is well adapted to Inland Empire climate conditions where it tolerates sun, heat, aridity and drought. It grows best in well-drained soils with moist winters and low amounts of summer water. It is used as a background plant, in raised planters and in courtyards where its deep green foliage and fragrant flowers are appreciated. One cultivar, S. s. 'Silver Peso', has striking silvery-gray foliage color with a slower growth rate to 15 ft. tall.

Water Needs

The Mescal bean is well adapted to hot microclimate locations in the Inland Empire where it thrives in sun and with normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer water. It is a colorful flowering accent shrubs for courtyard and southwestern plantings in both commercial and residential settings. Monthly deep watering from spring through fall will enhance its spring flowering cycle and help maintain good foliage character. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and size.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Multi-trunk, Mounding, Low-branching
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 15 ft. - 20 ft.
Width: 10 ft. - 15 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Lavender
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Calcareous soil, Alkaline soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Screening, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Foundations, Flowering accent plant, Espalier, Commercial spaces, Banks, Background plant, Fragrant flowers

Maintenance

As it matures, Mescal Bean can be "pruned up" into a small multi-trunked tree by removing lower branches (5). Pruning is best done after spring flowering (D).

References

Associations

Plant Lists