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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - January 27, 2005

From: Cibolo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Late winter pruning of native Texas Sage
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have several Texas Sage bushes that have started to get very woody and have growth only on the top. This seems to have led to a definite listing to one side. Should I trim these to the ground or tear them up? They have managed to lean over and kill all the smaller bushes around them. When should I do what ever I should do? We live in the San Antonio area.

ANSWER:

Texas sage, or cenizo, (Leucophyllum frutescens) tends to get leggy in cultivation, especially if it is growing in the shade. The most likely reason it is leaning is that it is growing towards the direction of the most sunlight. Late winter is the best time to prune it and it sounds as if it would benefit from a severe cutback. Even with an extreme pruning it will probably survive and sprout again and you can then tip prune to keep its shape and size in check. Also, it should be watered only sparingly and it should not be fertilized. Should it not survive the severe pruning, you might consider replacing it with one of the dwarf varieties, such as 'Silverado'(tm).

You can read about the Texas sage in the Native Plants Database on the Wildflower Center web page. Select "Growing Conditions" from the menu at the top of that page to read more about maintaining your Texas sage.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Evergreen shrubs for Rindge, NH
May 06, 2009 - We are building a new house and I want to get shrubs/bushes that stay green all year long (ie:hollyberry)to put in front and around our house. Which of these would go closest to the house? I'd like t...
view the full question and answer

Declining wax myrtles in Katy, TX
August 24, 2009 - My wax myrtle bushes were thick and green except for a few on the NE side 6 months ago when we bought the house. Now they are thin, leggy, and dropping leaves like crazy. They seem to be dying one bra...
view the full question and answer

Dead woody plants in wildlife garden in Austin
March 02, 2011 - I am an enthusiastic and pretty successful wildlife gardener, have studied my Wasowski "Bible", but I can't get any evergreens established in my yard! We live on blackland clay, which I amend with ...
view the full question and answer

Pool-side ornamentals for south Louisiana
May 07, 2012 - We live in south Louisiana and are re-doing the plants around our pool. What are some low maintenance, small shrubs (flowering) or other ornamentals that would be good in this area?
view the full question and answer

When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
March 22, 2010 - Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center