Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - February 08, 2011

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Cutting back perennials from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

When is it time to cut back native plants; salvia;copper canyon daisy; verbena, etc?

ANSWER:

Most Texas perennial flowering plants need some cutting back when they have dropped their leaves. Many can actually be cut to the ground, as they are going to come back from the roots, but we like to leave a few 6-inch stalks standing up so we know that's a plant we planted, and not a weed that needs to be yanked. Always clean up around your plants, taking away dropped leaves and stems, to help prevent mildew, disease and insect damage.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Maintenance of milkweed from Austin
September 12, 2013 - I help plant and maintain a Monarch Waystation Garden in San Leanna, Texas (South Austin). Should milkweed plants be cut back during the winter? Last year we cut them back a bit late and some died c...
view the full question and answer

Needs Help with Peonies
January 14, 2011 - With the clay soil in North Texas (Frisco) which variety of peony would thrive and become a reliable bloomer? I do work on amending the soil with expanded shell and compost, but ultimately, we still h...
view the full question and answer

Low cost, low maintenance, water tolerants native plants for New Jersey
February 25, 2006 - I am planning a bed around my deck which will include shrubs and flowers. I am looking for plants that require a lot of water due to the wet soil conditions and poor drainage in my yard. Do you have...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native daylilies from Albuquerque
May 05, 2013 - Need some tips on planting daylilies in the Northeast heights of Albuquerque. I've amended clay soil with cottonbur mulch/compost mix and added gypsum. Can I do anything else to ensure growing succes...
view the full question and answer

Will the
May 27, 2015 - I'm becoming interested in rain gardens, and although Silphium perfoliatum does not appear to be a host for butterfly caterpillars and like most of the "giant tall grass prairie daisies" may be a b...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.