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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with wax myrtle in Austin
February 01, 2009 - I have been struggling with wax myrtles for the last year! We live in NW Austin, The plants start off great and then thin out, leaves go brown, and die. I then cut off the dead wood in the hope that t...
view the full question and answer

Insects attacking Gregg's Blue Mistflower from Comfort TX
June 20, 2013 - I have a beautiful stand of Gregg's Blue Mist flower that have been attacked by an unknown insect. The new growth is curled and stunted and it is not flowering. I'm not alone..I've seen the Gregg'...
view the full question and answer

Oak roots damaged by ax from Austin
July 03, 2013 - Hello. I am attempting to create my own tiny copy of the Wildflower Center within my yard. I'm using all native, drought tolerant plants. My front yard is full of live oaks. I used a sod cutter la...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mountain Laurel in Leander TX
June 15, 2009 - My 13 yr old Mountain Laurel tree is sick. It has lost most of its leaves after blooming this spring. The twigs seem to still be pliable so I assume alive. I saw no moth worms or bags this year, ju...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
June 03, 2012 - I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to t...
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