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

Thursday - August 19, 2010

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Soils, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Hybridized Indigo Spires having problems in Wimberley, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted 7 Indigo Spires from one gallon containers in May and now each plant is about 18" tall. 4 of the 7 fell over about 2 weeks are. The plants still look healthy with no dropped or curled leaves. These 4 receive more sun than the remaining ones so I assume it must be stress due to the heat. Should I cut any of the plant back to relieve some of the stress?

ANSWER:

Indigo Spires is not considered a native plant, but we have had several questions about it in the last year or so. We are going to extract some of the information from some of those answers and see if it will help. 

"Indigo Spires, sometimes called Mystic Spires, is thought to be a hybrid between Salvia farinaceae and S. longispicata. It was found growing at the Huntingdon Botanical Gardens in California in the 1970s. The botanist who discovered and named it noticed that it the new plant was growing near the other two, and theorized that it was an accidental hybrid. Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage) is a Central Texas native, but the S. longispicata is something of a mystery, thought to be native to Mexico. In fact, when we went googling to try to find information about it, it was always in combination with S. farinacea to make Indigo Spires. When you're unclear about the parentage of a plant, it is very difficult to diagnose problems or recommend care. So, we found some facts, including in our Native Plant Database, about S. farinacea, and hope they will apply to the mix of two salvias. We learned that salvias hate to have wet winter feet, but also hates having roots dry out and will quickly die when that happens. If your salvia was in a poorly drained bed, it might be suffering from drowned roots. It's more likely, however,  that the salvias are suffering from being dried out. You are going to need to trim out the upper part of the plant anyway, to take some of the strain off the roots, and then make sure it has moist soil around the roots. Under ordinary circumstances, it is advised to cut back old flower stems when new basal foliage begins to appear. Don't fertilize until the plant is recovered, if it recovers, and we hope it does. Just as an aside, hybrids like this are sterile, or their seeds will not breed true to the original plant. If you wish to propagate it, take stem cuttings." 

Pictures of "Mystic Spires" Salvia 

 


 

More Propagation Questions

Can wildflower seeds be stored in plastic from Bayside TX
June 10, 2011 - I have been harvesting seeds from all of the varieties of wildflowers I'd planted in a raised flower bed. I had vacuum sealed them with my Seal-A Meal but a few days ago I was told that this was not ...
view the full question and answer

Pink lady slipper orchids in Maine
May 24, 2009 - Hi, I have moved to Maine from Virginia--it's a new world of plants!!Exciting!! I have found 2 pink lady slippers on our property. What can I do to encourage them to multiply? I know some wild flowe...
view the full question and answer

Planting begonias in the Dallas area
March 25, 2009 - What month is it time to plant begonias in the Dallas, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

How does Graptopetalum filiferum produce seeds?
June 22, 2009 - Hi I have a Graptopetalum filiferum. I found a seed on top of one of the plants and it resembles something like a cantelope melon seed-about 1/3" long, orange. Do these succulents produce seeds i...
view the full question and answer

Starting yucca from pups in Alberta, Canada
May 18, 2009 - What is the procedure to start a new plant from the Yucca "pups?" Heavy wet snow damaged much of my yucca plant the winter before last and last summer it produced 3 of these new little ones but the ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center