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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - February 05, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Maintenance of Bicolor Sage in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I had quite a bit of Bicolor Sage planted when my yard was landscaped. I am now wondering on the proper plant maintenance. Do I prune back and if so, how much and when do I prune?


We found information on two plants referred to as Bicolor Sage:  Salvia sinaloensis, perennial native to Mexico (Magnolia Gardens), and  Salvia microphylla, (also Magnolia Gardens) native to the Chiapas area of Mexico. Since neither is native to North America, they will not appear in our Native Plant Database. However, we can give you some practical advice from experience on caring for salvias.

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.


More Pruning Questions

Pruning Saucer Magnolia in Eatontown, NJ.
January 12, 2013 - Adult Saucer Magnolia (tulip tree). Branches were getting heavy to where they were ready to break. I pruned them back leaving 1 to 3 inch diameter cuts on many branches. Should I put something on th...
view the full question and answer

How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like?
March 24, 2011 - I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where...
view the full question and answer

Care for large trumpet vine in Hugo MN
June 09, 2010 - I was recently given a large Trumpet vine that has been growing in the same place for the last 25 years.I have replanted it and given it a large trellis to grow on.I live in central Minnesota. My ques...
view the full question and answer

Problem with crapemyrtle shoots in Victoria, TX
May 13, 2009 - I have a problem with crepe myrtle shoots coming up in my flowerbed. I had to remove a large crepe myrtle tree (18" diameter stump) and digging out the stump was not possible. I killed the stump wi...
view the full question and answer

Recovery of an agarita having been cut down from San Antonio, TX
August 16, 2013 - I had an agarita adjoining a cedar and a volunteer hackberry in my yard. The tree trimmers were supposed to cut out the hackberry but unfortunately also cut the agarita back to the ground. How long ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center