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
1 rating

Wednesday - September 22, 2010

From: Lucas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Green blooms on Cedar Sage in Lucas TX
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I have two Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana) one purchased from your plant sale and one from a local nursery planted in part shade in the Dallas area. They seem to be quite happy and are blooming but on both the blooms are green and insignificant, not red as pictured. Any suggestions? Wrong ph? Too much/not enough sun?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks you are on the right track with your questions about soil pH and sun.  Salvia roemeriana (Cedar sage) likes alkaline soils with a pH greater than 7.2. It is one of several plants that have evolved to grow in the shade and leaf mulch of junipers. It can become stressed and stunted in continuous full sun and has a hard time perpetuating itself under deciduous hardwoods. I don't know the specifics of your situation regarding sun or shade and the presence or absence of deciduous hardwoods, but I strongly suspect that the soil pH in your area is lower than 7.2.

Another obstacle you are facing is that Collin County, wherein Lucas is located, is outside the normal range of distribution for Salvia roemeriana. This link is a map showing its normal range according to the USDA: County distribution of Salvia roemeriana.

Now, just because a plant is outside its normal range and doesn't have perfect soil and sun doesn't mean it won't grow. As you say, yours are quite happy and blooming. But, when you combine all these factors, a plant may not perform to its full potential.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Quit your job, sell your house and relocate to an area where cedar sage is found naturally. OK, Mr. Smarty Plants doesn't really think you are willing to move for the sake of a plant, but it is an alternative.

2. Try growing your cedar sage in containers. In a container, you can determine soil pH by your selection of growing medium and you can place the container in a favorable light setting. Here is a how to article on container gardening with native plants.

Finally, here is a picture of cedar sage in bloom. You can see why the hummingbirds and butterflies like it.


Salvia roemeriana

 

 

 

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Plants for shelter for butterflies
July 04, 2010 - I understand that butterflies need certain plants for food, but are there specific plants that butterflies prefer to use as shelter in central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Non-invasive plants for hummingbird and butterfly garden
January 20, 2009 - Hello :) I've been building a huge Hummingbird and Butterfly garden. Up until now I've only had the Milkweeds and Dill for host plants for the Monarch and Black Swallowtail Butterflies. I'd love t...
view the full question and answer

Foundation plants for Albuquerque.
July 01, 2012 - Hello, I live in Albuquerque. I am looking for some native/xeric low water usage plants for foundation plants for my home. They will be foundation plants for a two story home that has a large ponde...
view the full question and answer

Plant that attracts butterflies, perhaps?
October 06, 2014 - What is that one plant/flower in your Center that attracts wildflowers like crazy? It's got a cute name, not a Latin or Scientific name. I have the plant, but don't know how to make it spread.
view the full question and answer

Sun loving plants for flower bed by the pool in Weatherford Texas
October 03, 2011 - We have a 40' long x 2 1/2' wide flowerbed along our pool. It is in full sun with the pool deck across the front and a 6' privacy fence across back. Also, the level of the bed is 18" below the l...
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