Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - May 28, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks
Title: When to prune Texas betony (Stachys coccinea)
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I bought Texas Betony plants several years ago at Wildflower Days. They are thriving, but a bit leggy. Somewhere I read that they should be cut back several times during the year. Now I can't find the article. Please tell me about pruning for continuous blooms and fuller plants. Many thanks.

ANSWER:

Stachys coccinea (scarlet hedgenettle) is, as you know, a lovely perennial, blooming Spring, Summer and Fall and a great attracter of hummingbirds, with the flame red tubular blooms. The first thought on the legginess of your plants is that they may not be getting quite enough sun. Although Texas Betony is generally regarded as a "Sun to Part Shade" plant, the question is "How much shade is it getting?" The phrase "Sun to Part Shade" tends to mean it needs sun but can tolerate some shade. When the shade last too many of the daylight hours, the plant will adapt by growing longer and, unfortunately, weaker stems in its search for more sunlight. What sometimes happens is that a gardener plants a group of plants, maybe even a small tree or some shrubs, in an area according to their light needs. However, as time goes by, the shrubs and/or trees may grow taller than the two to three feet ordinarily reached by Texas Betony, and begin to shade out the plant more than the original intent. And, of course, at different seasons of the year, more or less sunlight may fall on the plant than was allowed for in the original siting. If this seems to be your problem, removing or trimming some of the larger plants that are shading out the Texas Betony may be one solution. Another, of course, is to move the plants themselves to a sunnier location. It certainly won't hurt the plant to have some trimming. Moderate trimming of faded flowers, also referred to as "deadheading" is good for most perennials, and may result in additional flowering. You could certainly try that, but if the stems continue to be leggy and appear weak, then getting some additional light may be your best bet.

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet betony
Stachys coccinea

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Cutting back salvia greggii in Birmingham, AL
February 23, 2010 - When is a good time to cut back salvia gregii and how much can you cut it back. We will probably still have frost. Will it grow in sun and shade?
view the full question and answer

Winter wrappings for plants in Ellenton Florida
December 23, 2010 - Hi and thank you for your time, I do appreciate it. I have one question. I live in Florida and yes we do get frost and temps down to 28 degrees in the winter. last year I lost almost 50 plants tha...
view the full question and answer

Mowing frequency of native lawn from Georgetown TX
August 18, 2012 - I have a native grass and wildflower lawn. At what frequency and when should the lawn be mowed?
view the full question and answer

Can Juncus effusus winter outside in Mountville PA?
June 28, 2010 - If we have the juncus effusus spiralis outside in a small pond and you say to let it outside in the winter does that mean we should let it in the pond? thanks for your time
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a wedding site
November 11, 2007 - My fiance and I would like to get married on his family's ranch, just north of Johnson City on the Pedernales river, in April of 2009. Currently, we are clearing the over-grown meadows of cactus and ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.