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

Wednesday - June 29, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Failure to bloom of Salvia greggii from San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We bought Salvia greggii at the Wildflower Center Plant Sale three years ago and planted them in a well drained area. We cut them back early in the year as recommended at Go Native U classes. However,they are not blooming at all this year and bloomed very little last year? Could this be because of the drought like conditions we are having or do you recommend we move the plants next fall/winter to an area that has more sun .. now they are in a dappled shade area .. probably half a day sun.

ANSWER:

We can think of three reasons, besides the very severe drought and heat we are having, why your Salvia greggii (Autumn sage) is not blooming up to expectations.

The first, which you have already mentioned, has to do with sun exposure. According to our webpage on this plant, it requires full sun, which we consider to be 6 hours or more of sun a day.

The second suspect is that you are taking care of it too well. Native plants in their natural habitat, which yours appear to be, do not need fertilizer. Over-fertilizing can cause more growth and leaves, and fewer blooms. One of the reasons we recommend native plants is because they require less intervention.

And the third reason: Again on our webpage we found this information:

Maintenance: Trim or pinch tips continuously for nonstop blooming.

This is a good habit to maintain with any blooming plant. Every plant has the built-in imperative to reproduce itself. It does this by seeding. The plant must first bloom to make seeds. In this rather difficult weather situation, plants will do just what they have to in order to survive. When the first blooms have done their job, seeds have been dropped, the plant conserves energy by not putting out any more blooms.

 

From the Image Gallery


Autumn sage
Salvia greggii

Autumn sage
Salvia greggii

Autumn sage
Salvia greggii

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Location of Alamo fungicide kit from Georgetown TX
July 03, 2012 - Where can I buy the Alamo fungicide injection kit shown in the oak wilt video?
view the full question and answer

Leaves turning brown in Fredonia KS
June 16, 2009 - Leaves turning brown.
view the full question and answer

Declining wax myrtles in Katy, TX
August 24, 2009 - My wax myrtle bushes were thick and green except for a few on the NE side 6 months ago when we bought the house. Now they are thin, leggy, and dropping leaves like crazy. They seem to be dying one bra...
view the full question and answer

Disease-resistant squash varieties for Central Texas
February 03, 2008 - Can you give me names of some disease-resistant summer squash varieties available in Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Liatris spicata
May 25, 2008 - I bought a liatris spicata start a month ago, and transplanted it into my front yard (full sun, clay soil, moist due to all the rain recently). The plant immediately wilted so I transplanted it in ...
view the full question and answer

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