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

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

Inadvisability of allowing native orchids to cross-breed
May 17, 2006 - Hello LBJ Native plants helper! This is the perfect place for me to ask a question that has been very perplexing to me. I live in Northern California and am doing research for naturalization of the te...
view the full question and answer

Various holly hybrids or selections for Pflugerville TX
March 24, 2011 - I love Savannah Hollies. I used them all the time in the Dallas area. Now that I have moved to Austin, I am wondering if I can plant them in this area. I have a soil pH of 7 and drainage is moderate. ...
view the full question and answer

Illegal to remove an orange blossom from ground in Florida from Atlantis FL
March 28, 2012 - Is there any law that prevents someone from removing an orange blossom from the ground in Florida?
view the full question and answer

Sap oozing from non-native Chinese pistache in San Antonio
September 07, 2011 - I live in San Antonio, and my chinese pistache is exuding copious amounts of a sticky sap from old trim sites and from the trunk itself. The tree is about 12 years old and has been healthy up until no...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting of non-native Vitex
April 29, 2006 - I live in El Paso and have a fifteen year old vitex tree planted too close to a mesquite tree in my backyard. As a result of this, the vitex has failed to thrive. My question is this: can I replant ...
view the full question and answer

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