En Espa—ol

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 - May 30, 2009

From: Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Problems with Green Cloud purple sage in Buda TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted the "Green Cloud" variety of purple sage about 3 years ago. Yesterday, I noticed yellowish dots on the underside of the leaves of some plants. Is this harmful? The plants seem to be ok at this time, but I'd like to prevent any problems that might be brewing. I thought about the cotton root rot, but we have been in a drought.....not much water here (however,the area is heavily mulched).

ANSWER:

There are 5 plants in our Native Plant Database with the common name "purple sage;" however, only one of them, Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush), is native to Texas, so we will assume that it the one you are asking about. The species of this plant usually has silvery green foliage; "Green Cloud" is a selection which has green leaves and pinkish flowers. Pictures of Green Cloud.

We investigated the possibility of cotton root rot, but understand that this plant is pretty resistant to it. Another thing causing yellowing on leaves is chlorosis, the lack of cholorophyll, which is usually the result of the plant roots being unable to access trace elements, especially iron, in the soil. The key to both these problems is the drainage for the plant. Cotton root rot, for instance, is prevalent in calcareous clay loam, where drainage is poor. Chlorosis can be precipitated by too little drainage as well. So, the first thing you want to do is check that water is not standing on the roots of your purple sage. If water in a shallow depression stands there for more than about 30 minutes, your drainage is poor. You need some compost in the dirt in which the sage is planted, or it should be in a raised bed. Pull some of that mulch back, and work some decomposed matter into the soil as much as possible without damaging the roots. Let the lower branches get some air. Try gradually getting the air circulation improved and getting organic material into the soil, and see if that helps.


Leucophyllum frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Eastern redcedar uprooted by snow in Arlington, TX
February 14, 2010 - During the recent snowstorm one of our juniperus virginiana fell over with the rootball looking intact and with a lot of soil all around it.Should we try to save it? It is approximately 20 feet tall ...
view the full question and answer

Planting a tulip poplar in Virginia Beach VA
November 10, 2009 - Hi. I would like to plant a Yellow Poplar, 'Tulip Tree' in my front yard. I will not be able to plant this tree until after November 15th. The tree will receive direct sun and will be exposed to hea...
view the full question and answer

Shriveling and dying of non-native impatiens
July 14, 2008 - Several years now many of my impatiens after a month or so seem to shrivel up and eventually die. They are planted in a row and not all are affected. I am not noticing any slug evidence which I would...
view the full question and answer

Converting a Texas backyard to grow Xerophytic native plants
January 09, 2015 - I am planning the conversion of our backyard, about 4000 sq ft of largely St Augustine, into a grassless landscape of hardscaping and native plants. Iíve been an avid gardener of rock garden plants i...
view the full question and answer

Combining native shrubs for hedge in Austin
April 15, 2009 - Smarty, Please tell me what the definitions are for all the various water, soil moisture, drainage and light requirements mean. Are the definitions global? I live in Central East Austin and inten...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center