En Español

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 Pruning Questions

Trimming of dead foliage on trunks of yucca in California
December 21, 2008 - There is a Yucca plant in the back yard. I want to know how to get the old foliage that has died off of the trunks, it looks kind of ragged. The foliage is about three feet from the green. Can you ...
view the full question and answer

When to prune Texas Coral Honeysuckle in Iredell, TX?
January 31, 2012 - When can I prune Texas coral honeysuckle? It needs to be pruned so that it will fill out. Also, how much do I prune it? Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Ash tree dying back to lower sprouts in Kempner TX
June 19, 2010 - My 2 year old ash tree leaves dropped, appears dead, branches dying. New growth near base of tree. Do I cut upper trunk or remove entire tree? My other ash is doing well.
view the full question and answer

Survival of yucca plant mowed down in Oklahoma
April 15, 2009 - I have a yucca plant that came from a very old plant of my late father, and had transplanted it 6 years ago and it came back every year and bloomed. This morning I went outside and noticed my husband...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back of non-native Salvia Elegans in Portland OR
December 31, 2011 - I did not trim back my pineapple sage in the fall. It is now winter and the plants are bare sticks. Should I cut them back or leave them alone?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center