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
2 ratings

Monday - June 06, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Cedar sage in container in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Re: cedar sage purchased at your 04/11 plant sale: it sets flower spikes but no red blossoms appear, only calyxes. It's in terracotta pot w/Ladybug soil, shady apartment patio. Soil too rich? Too much water? Not enough light? Please help me help it bloom. Thank you.

ANSWER:

It just so happens that this particular member of the Mr. Smarty Plants team also purchased Salvia roemeriana (Cedar sage) at the Spring Sale, while I was working at the Sale. And, mine is also in a porch garden which gets sun in mid-afternoon until dark. I have been getting lovely pink blooms in the bracts that will become seed carriers, but after all, for both of us, this is the first year out of the nursery. My blooms are tiny and don't last very long, but I have several plants and they are on shelves at eye level where I can really enjoy their delicate rose blossoms. Many perennials don't bloom at all until their second season. Cedar sage is called that because, as noted below, it grows under Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) which Texans call "cedar."

From our Native Plant Database on this plant:

"One of several plants that have evolved to grow in the shade and leaf mulch of junipers, Salvia roemeriana makes a fine plant for the well-drained shade garden. Its scalloped, rounded leaves and crimson blooms are as eye-catching in pots as they are against the limestone outcrops of its native habitat."

"Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Its crimson blooms appear in early spring, are profuse for a couple of months, and then continue sporadically through summer."

We both got our plants in mid-April, and the early blooms, if the plant was old enough to have any, had already gone.  We may both be over-coddling our plants with enriched potting soil, but duplication of the fine mulch of juniper needles on the ground would be very difficult for the container gardener. This plant, while native to this area, is somewhat out of its native habitat growing in our civilized "concrete gardens." I suggest we both be patient for a year. I rather like its round, scalloped leaves and, since it is a member of the Lamiaceae or mint family, its faint but pleasant fragrance.

Prescription for both of us: Patience.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

More Container Gardens Questions

Native container plants from Hillsdale NJ
March 22, 2013 - Looking for suggestions for the easiest natives to grow in containers.
view the full question and answer

Protecting hibiscus from cold in Eastern Washington State
July 28, 2006 - I recently purchased a Hibiscus Brilliant Red. I planted it in an area of my garden that will give it full sun for most of the day. In the Pacific Northwest where I live (Eastern Washington) it can ge...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for deck in Maine
May 18, 2009 - I live on the ocean in Maine. Fourth floor deck. I want to plant containers and boxes with annuals that can withstand a lot of wind. We get mostly sun but some shade as well. Of course, there is the s...
view the full question and answer

Container gardening for pool in southern California
October 08, 2008 - I have large planters around pool would like to know what plants to use that will not grow to high or to big and will not have large roots home located in camarillo ca.
view the full question and answer

Container vegetable gardening in Austin
April 07, 2011 - Is vegetable container gardening an option with Austin's hot summers? I live in an apartment and I really want to plant an organic vegetable and herb container garden. I'm having a hard time findin...
view the full question and answer

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