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?

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
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

Saturday - December 31, 2011

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Cutting back of non-native Salvia Elegans in Portland OR
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

Our first task when we discuss a specific plant is to determine if it is native to North America and to the area where it is being grown, as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Mr. Smarty Plants are dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native to North America. From Floridata Salvia Elegans:

"Pineapple sage grows naturally in oak and pine scrub forests at elevations from 8,000-10,000 ft (2,438-3,048 m) in Mexico and Guatemala."

We suggest you read the whole article, as this plant will not appear in our Native Plant Database. Some more information in that article that we would highlight is:

"Light: Grow pineapple sage in full sun.
Moisture: Regular watering for best growth and flowering. Pineapple sage will wilt and eventually lose leaves during droughts, but when watering resumes it usually comes back.
Hardiness: Pineapple sage is a semiwoody subshrub in USDA zones 9-11, and an herbaceous perennial, dying to the ground in winter but resprouting in spring, in zones 8-9. Gardeners in colder areas grow pineapple sage as an annual, or bring it indoors in the winter."

On the above information that  Salvia elegans was that it would grow in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones of 9 to 11, it appears that while Multnomah County is in Zone 8b, it definitely is not in the environment in Mexico and Guatemala where the plant grows naturally.

Since that is about the limit of our information on this plant, we will give you some of the standard advice on the genus Salvia. It is semi-woody with a deciduous upper area and perennial. We usually suggest that gardeners trim salvias down to about 6" above the soil in the Winter, leaving that 6" to help you remember where it is. In the Spring it should re-emerge.

Pictures

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Watering a vegetable garden in San Marcos TX
March 24, 2012 - Can you give me a general idea how long to run my drip irrigation on my raised vegetable garden? Currently I use it twice daily for one hour. The soil feels slightly moist but not very damp. Should...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pots outdoors in winter in Virginia
October 02, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I was wondering what plants would be best to grow outdoors, in pots, in Virginia, in the winter? This is a lot of restrictions but we just need 2-3 plants for our office pati...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of closet plant
August 13, 2008 - I have a closet plant that is old and was doing fine and then started having droopy leaves. It needed to be in a larger pot so I transplanted into a larger pot with new potting soil. It continues to...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native privet in Austin
November 15, 2010 - My 2 privet shrubs/bushes facing the east in a shady area seem to be have less leaves and dead flowers, while across a walk way that 1 privet shrub/bush has lots of green leaves with lots of dying flo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center