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
1 rating

Thursday - January 17, 2008

From: Bulverde, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Trimming native salvias in January
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have heard you can trim Hot Lips, Raspberry and other salvias back severely in January, to about six inches from the ground. Is this correct?

ANSWER:

You are correct. Most native perennials that are not evergreen will profit from having a good trim back in mid-winter. It's a good idea to leave about six inches, so when new growth starts coming up from the roots, you won't think it's an early emerging weed and yank it out. It's also a good idea to keep litter, dead leaves, etc. cleaned away from the bases of your perennials to cut down on the possibility of harmful insect, disease or mildew being harbored in there. And, if you're feeling really industrious, you could always put some nice bark mulch or good compost on the ground around the perennials. Most of the fluids and vitality of the plant have gone down into the root to winter over, with the ground itself helping to keep it warm. Luckily for us, the ground does not freeze in Texas, and with the wintertime care, you will have earlier starts with healthy plants ready to begin blooming.

Some of the red sages, from which the named varieties are probably derived, are Salvia coccinea (blood sage), Salvia greggii (autumn sage), and Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage). Other salvias in blues are Salvia azurea (azure blue sage), and Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage). All these are not only native to North America but are found in Texas, and are excellent choices for your garden.

 


Salvia coccinea

Salvia greggii

Salvia roemeriana

Salvia azurea

Salvia farinacea

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Propagation of Cahaba lily from Columbia TN
September 03, 2011 - My cahaba lilies have so many seed pods. I would like to use the seeds properly to grow more lilies. Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Curb appeal for sale of house
December 16, 2007 - Help! We're selling our house soon and need to redo our flowerbeds in the front of the house (facing north, gets partial sunlight throughout the day) in the coming weeks but don't have a clue where...
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping plants for Sherman, Texas
December 19, 2007 - We are starting from scratch on landscaping our new yard. We live in Sherman, TX and I would like to use plants and flowers that are native to Texas and have a good chance of surviving. What are you...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

Will Canada geese eat Asclepias tuberosa from Cape May Court, NJ
May 20, 2014 - Will Canada geese eat my butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)? I know this plant is deer resistant. I really want to plant some on sandy bank near pond in my back yard, but I fear the geese will ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center