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
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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Getting milkweed seeds into seed mixes from Milwaukee WI
February 07, 2014 - My husband and I are concerned about the Monarch butterfly migration and have started an effort to get milkweed planted along some bike trails here in Wisconsin. This made me think of Ladybird Johnso...
view the full question and answer

Gaura drying out in Plano TX
May 13, 2012 - My gaura plant of 3 years suddenly seems to be drying out and no longer green or blooming?
view the full question and answer

Native alternative for liriope
September 20, 2011 - I am looking for native alternatives to liriope for use in sun to part shade, moderate moisture planting beds. Would prefer evergreen options.
view the full question and answer

Flowering native perennials for St. Louis
August 09, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm trying to landscape a yard that sits on rocky clay soil in St. Louis, MO. The front yard has been difficult because of its brutal southern exposure - the afternoon sun ...
view the full question and answer

Penta and licorice plants for Austin
May 04, 2009 - For Austin location Are you familiar with a small flowering plant called Penta? How about Licorice? If yes, could you provide growing conditions. Thanks
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