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?


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

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


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.


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 Shrubs Questions

Fast-growing drought-resistant hedge for California
September 03, 2013 - We're looking for a fast growing, drought resistant shrub that will grow in clay soil and can be used for a hedge around our property.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for Shade in Annapolis MD
September 12, 2013 - Can you please recommend dense shade tolerant shrubs for Annapolis, Maryland.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native photinia in Austin
October 07, 2013 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX (Austin Suburb)and have planted a number of Photinia shrubs in various areas of my property. All about 10 months old. The leaves are curling along their length on many...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for barn from Washington TX
April 27, 2013 - We live on a large ranch and have someone now next to us that built a barn on our fence line that we want to make a tree barrier to hide it, so we need to plant trees that will grow at least 15-29 fee...
view the full question and answer

Native climbing rose for Austin
April 25, 2010 - Is there such a thing as a native climbing rose that would do well in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center