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 - July 20, 2011

From: Silsbee, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants
Title: Sooty mold on Texas Sage in Silsbee, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I just saw two questions from December regarding black sooty mold appearing on leaves of Texas Sage. My Texas Sage is two years old growing in the original, well-draining large pot it was planted in last year. It survived winter well and bloomed in early spring this year. Since then, no blooms and new growth is slowly developing. Most older leaves have a black sooty mold on then. This plant sits in the same location where it thrived last year. The Sedum and Platycodon in the same pot are healthy and growing well. Nothing has changed about the care for this Texas Sage. I have applied one dose of Miracle Grow to this pot and all other potted plants. Only the Texas Sage is ill. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

I'm glad to see that people utilize our Mr. Smarty Plants  questions database.

I found two previous questions, 4768 and 6477 that deal with Texas Sage and sooty mold. A recurring theme in both of them was that common names  can be tricky, and that aphid infestation can lead to sooty mold. Since the sooty mold question is less complicated, lets tackle it first.
Here are three sources of information about this problem. The University of California at Davis Integrated Pest Management Program has two good articles; one on sooty mold, and one on aphids. This article from the USDA tells how to recognize and control sooty mold.

Because your Texas Sage is growing in a pot with other plants, I tend to think that it might be Salvia texana (Texas sage) rather than Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo). According to its NPIN page Salvia texana blooms from March through May (so yours bloomed when it was supposed to), and is found naturally in dry limestone alkaline soils.There are 19 species of Sedum in our Native Plant Database, and most also prefer drier environments. The Platycodon, possibly P.grandiflorus  is a non-native that prefers well drained moist soil. You didn’t mention whether the Sedum or Platycodon had bloomed this year. Perhaps you are trying to grow three plants together whose growth requirements are incompatible.

You did mention that the Texas Sage was potted last year which brings up the possibility of transplant shock. (When were the other two plants potted?) These websites from gardeningknowhow.com and northscaping.com have information about transplant shock and how to deal with it. So your Texas Sage is dealing with the stress of being transplanted as well as having to compete with the other plants for space and resources. As general rule, stressed plants shouldn't be fertilized. Maybe it needs a pot of its own.

And don’t forget about the aphids.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sage
Salvia texana

Texas sage
Salvia texana

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Live oak trees with rusty spots and holes on tree trunks
September 21, 2011 - I have live oak trees that have developed rusty spots, small holes on the tree trunks and sawdust on the trees base. They were planted in Oct 2010. We have had a hot dry summer in Texas this year an...
view the full question and answer

Brown spots on young redbuds in Lincoln TX
August 01, 2010 - I have lined my driveway in Lee County Texas with Red bud trees purchased both in Dripping Springs and in College Station. The 14 trees are of varying ages and heights (planted during the fall and wi...
view the full question and answer

Need help with dying clumps of Cedar Sedge
June 24, 2015 - Carex planostachys. This grass was planted 2 years ago in light shade. It grew well until this year. Now some clumps are dying. Others in same area look fine. No insects can be detected. Why are...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on Mexican Plum in Salado, TX.
July 24, 2013 - I do live in Cental Texas (Salado) and I have the same problem with my Mexican Plum as the lady in Bellaire, TX. Mine was planted in June in a raised bed and receives sun all day long. Within the la...
view the full question and answer

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center