En EspaÑol

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - March 22, 2008

From: cedar hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Pruning of native perennial blooming plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello - I am still a newbie at using Native Texas plants (but loving them!), and I need pruning assistance. When (and how much) do I prune: hot lips salvia, hummingbird bush (anisthcanthus wrightii), and common yarrow? All of these appear dead (although possibly are still alive) in my yard. The hot lips do have some green to them, but not a great deal.

ANSWER:

Welcome to Native Texas gardening! One of the first things you learn here is that you can't fight the way things grow in Texas. Far better to select plants that are native here and have adapted to our weather, soil, etc. We have an excellent set of "How-To Articles" that should help you start to learn your way around. Particularly, in reference to your question, read the article on Gardening Timeline. Each of the plants you've asked about has a webpage that you can click on the plant name to access, and find out more about its habits and needs. Most Texas perennial flowering plants need some cutting back when they have dropped their leaves. Many can actually be cut to the ground, as they are going to come back from the roots, but we like to leave a few 6-inch stalks standing up so we know that's a plant we planted, and not a weed that needs to be yanked. Always clean up around your plants, taking away dropped leaves and stems, to help prevent mildew, disease and insect damage.

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) This should be periodically trimmed and deadheaded to keep it bushy and in bloom.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle) (also known as Hummingbird Bush). Cutting this plant back severely in winter will provide more blooms and encourage bushier form.

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)


Salvia coccinea

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Achillea millefolium

 

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Goldenrod not blooming in Lecanto FL
September 19, 2010 - My goldenrod(fireworks) grows only like a groundcover(3" tall) and does not flower. It is in full sun in my garden in Lecanto, Florida(zone 9A). What could be wrong? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Flowers for days on end in California
March 30, 2012 - What are some plants or flowers that I can grow "all-year" in California?
view the full question and answer

Pruning guidance for Carolina buckthorn from Houston
October 23, 2012 - I have a Carolina Buckthorn in my back patio that I planted in fall 2001. The summer of 2003 the roofers dropped something off the back and broke the top 10-12 inches off. I have tried to train the la...
view the full question and answer

Winter pruning of lantana from Austin
February 12, 2013 - I live in north Austin. Due to our mild winter, my lantana has not died off this season as it usually does after a freeze - and so I have not cut it back yet this year which I typically do about right...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Aster ericoides in Philadelphia
March 20, 2010 - Should I cut back my Aster ericoides, ‘schneegitter’ in the spring?
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