En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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
2 ratings

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 Pruning Questions

How to Prune a Mountain Laurel to make it more tree like in Hendersen, NV
April 28, 2011 - How do I prune a Texas Mountain Laurel into a tree? Just bought a 15 gal. with two trunks above the crown. Was told that multiple trunks are their natural growth, which is OK. But all research call...
view the full question and answer

Need some help with my Mexican Bush Sage in Rockport, TX.
July 07, 2011 - My Mexican bush sage looks leggy,ratty and sparse. It's planted in full sun and was cut back to the ground in early spring. My soil is sand and I've watered it sparingly as we've had no rain. I'm...
view the full question and answer

How to deal with suckers on Flame-leaf Sumac
May 20, 2013 - Hi! It seems you can have too much of a good thing! Our flameleaf sumac is taking over our yard. There are multiple shoots appearing in our flower beds and in the lawn. How do I get rid of the unwante...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas Mountain Laurel in Dallas
May 04, 2010 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel that is about 3 years old. When I bought it 2 summers ago, it was about a foot high. Now it is over 6 feet. It seems to have grown so fast that the branches can't ke...
view the full question and answer

Sprouts at base of holly in Surprise AZ
November 15, 2010 - Friends have recently planted a holly tree in their front yard. They live in AZ and there is no grass (only rock) around their tree. It was planted as a fairly large tree (about 18 feet).My question i...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center