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 - 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

Difficulty of watering at drip line of trees from The Woodlands TX
August 18, 2011 - I'm watering my couple dozen native mature trees to make sure they survive this drought and its aftermath..and I'm reading about how to water at the drip line. But..all of my trees' drip lines ext...
view the full question and answer

Surface tree roots hurting grass in Houston
March 21, 2013 - We have 2 mature Arizona Ash trees in our yard (30-40'). One of them is in a sunnier location and has developed an extensive network of surface roots (up to 1 to 1 1/2" Dia.) between the tree and th...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Erosion control on partially shaded slope
November 27, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Atlanta, GA. My house is on a hill, and I am beginning to have erosion at my backyard porch (concrete slab, on the corners especially). The soil is mainly red clay, a...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for clay soil in Lathrop MO
March 21, 2011 - My family just moved to the north Kansas City, MO area and would like to know what native species, both perennial and tree, will do best in the clay soil. It has already proven problematic as we have ...
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