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

Monday - January 09, 2012

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Seasonal tasks for Big Red Sage and Tall Aster in Marble Falls TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I transplanted some Big Red Sage and Tall Aster into my raised bed garden in early summer this year. They've sent up lots of rosettes. Do I need to protect them from freezing in winter? Do I need to thin them and if yes, when? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Salvia pentstemonoides (Big red sage) and Symphyotrichum praealtum var. praealtum (Tall aster) are two excellent plants for your garden, with fairly low maintenance needs. Both are native to Burnet County, so they are hardy in the USDA Hardiness Zone where they are growing. Both are perennials that die back to the ground and come up from the rosettes in the Spring and both thrive in sun or part shade. Don't worry about covering them in the ground. They are insulated by the warmth of the Earth; in fact, Big Red Sage is hardy from Zones 6a to 10b and Tall Aster grows as far north as Ontario in eastern Canada. Burnet County is in Zone 8b.

As far as thinning them, we would say you don't "need" to thin, you thin them when they are getting crowded or you need more plants in another area. We suggest you read this article on Caring for Your Perennials from Weston Gardens, especially this excerpt on time of thinning:

"Perennials, in general, should be transplanted during the season opposite of when they bloom. That is, transplant Spring and Summer-flowering perennials in the Fall and transplant Fall-flowering perennials in the early Spring."

Therefore, since the Big Red Sage blooms red in June to October and Tall Blue Aster blooms purple from October to November, both could be thinned in Spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Big red sage
Salvia pentstemonoides

Spreading aster
Symphyotrichum patens var. patens

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Penstemon digitalis not blooming in Hebron, NE.
May 22, 2010 - My Beardtongue plants are too close together. Can I transplant my Penstemon digitalis now, even though the plant is approx. 20" tall? It is not blooming.
view the full question and answer

Is Cerinthe major toxic to cats in Gresham, OR
March 14, 2013 - Hi, I was wondering about whether a specific plant was poisonous or not specifically to cats.. I've done a lot of searching and can't find anything on whether or not this plant is considered toxi...
view the full question and answer

Green blooms on Cedar Sage in Lucas TX
September 22, 2010 - I have two Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana) one purchased from your plant sale and one from a local nursery planted in part shade in the Dallas area. They seem to be quite happy and are blooming but ...
view the full question and answer

Mulching Spring Bulbs in Upstate NY
October 25, 2010 - Just planted tulip bulbs for Spring. The Parks Department then put 4 inches of mulch on top. Will the tulips be able to get through and bloom come Spring? Is mulch a good winterizer for them? Indoor c...
view the full question and answer

Is Phyla lanceolata (frogfruit) poisonous to dogs fromTitusville FL?
June 01, 2014 - Is Phyla lanceolata, also called Fogfruit, Lanceleaf Fogfruit, or Northern Fogfruit, toxic to dogs? We have it growing amongst our grass. I can't find it on any toxic plant list.
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