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?


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

Tuesday - February 23, 2010

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks
Title: Cutting back salvia greggii in Birmingham, AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


When is a good time to cut back salvia gregii and how much can you cut it back. We will probably still have frost. Will it grow in sun and shade?


Salvia greggii (autumn sage) is endemic to Texas, and not shown in our Native Plant Database as growing in Alabama, so we're not sure how well it will do there.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. The native habitat of this plant is well-drained, rocky slopes, usually limestone, sand and loams in central, south and west Texas. It is evergreen to semi-evergreen, and blooms white, red, pink, orange or purple from March to November. If you have obtained some and wish to give it a try in Alabama, it does require full sun, which we consider to be 6 or more hours of sun a day. 

We have always recommended cutting salvias back to about 6 in. after the first freeze; however, since this is a mounding, semi-evergreen shrub, such severe pruning is probably not necessary, but certainly some clean-up and removing dead foliage is appropriate for now.


From the Image Gallery

Autumn sage
Salvia greggii

Autumn sage
Salvia greggii

Autumn sage
Salvia greggii

More Pruning Questions

Problems with Blackfoot Daisy from Lewisville, TX
April 23, 2013 - I planted a row of Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot Daisy) last spring at the front of the front yard, next to the sidewalk. It's full sun, east facing, unamended black clay gumbo soil. I put mulc...
view the full question and answer

Premature leaf drop on Red Maple in Kentucky
June 25, 2008 - I have a ten foot Red Maple tree that has been set out for 4 years. Its leaves have slowly turned colors until it currently looks like fall. The leaves are not falling off nor is there yet any s...
view the full question and answer

Pruning live oak shoots from San Antonio
September 10, 2011 - I am new to TX and am curious about removing suckers/water sprouts from my Live Oaks. Everything I've read about pruning Live Oaks states that you must paint ALL cuts, so I assume that all means al...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back of non-native Salvia Elegans in Portland OR
December 31, 2011 - I did not trim back my pineapple sage in the fall. It is now winter and the plants are bare sticks. Should I cut them back or leave them alone?
view the full question and answer

Pruning wax myrtles from Austin
March 29, 2011 - I've got some wax myrtles that have grown up in the last 10 years on my property line, completely volunteer. My neighbor has begun to grumble about too much shade on his yard. I'd like to trim them ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center