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
1 rating

Friday - July 21, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Other
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Salvia, geum transplant shock symptoms
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I need some help. I transplanted 2 xeriscape plants and they are not doing well. 1 is Pitcher Sage-sorry I don't know botanical name; the other is White Avens. The've grown a lot but all the leaves are turning brown in spots. The Avens plant leaves curl down then turn completely brown and die. The leaves on the White Avens start to grow but don't get big. There is no growth of leave on the pitcher sage; the stem is turning brown. I've sprayed it with safer soap to keep mites off. What should I feed them? Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

Both Pitcher Sage, Salvia azurea var. grandiflora (formerly Salvia pitcheri) and White Avens, Geum canadense are perennial plants. Perennials typically take one or two years to recover from the stress of transplanting and three to four years to reach their maximum potential in their new location. It sounds like your plants are mainly suffering from transplant shock.

If your sage and avens were recently transplanted, the hot weather we are currently experiencing could have devastating effect on them. Remove as much of the top of the plants as you feel can be safely pruned away (up to 1/2) to reduce stressed caused by dessication. Until the roots of your plants are better established, they simply cannot support all of the top-growth they could before transplanting. Even potted plants usually suffer significant root-loss during the transplanting process.

Do not feed your plants until they show signs of recovery by beginning to put on new growth. Feeding them now can exacerbate the problems they're currently suffering and could lead to their ultimate demise. Also, horticultural soaps and oils can cause leaf scorching (phytotoxicity) if used on water-stressed plants - especially in hot weather. The symptoms you described for your avens plant sounds like a combination of water stress and phytotoxicity.

Removing some of the top-growth, providing protection from wind and especially intense sunlight, and keeping your new perennials adequately watered during the critical first few months while they're establishing new roots should lead to success with them and just about any other plant.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Possible fungal infection of oak trees in Mastic Beach, NY.
June 19, 2012 - Sir, I have a yard full of HUGE Oaks. The one in question is about 80' tall 48" in diameter at the base. They are all well maintained fed and trimed and elevated every 3 or 4 years. About 4 years a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with spreading juniper in Sturgis, SD
May 25, 2011 - I live in Sturgis, South Dakota and I have two different varieties of Spreading Juniper in the yard as ground cover. They have developed an orange colored fungus that goes dormant in the winter but a...
view the full question and answer

Palm plant with lower inches browning in Alexandria VA
July 21, 2009 - Palm plant 10 years old, about 5' tall, single trunk approximately 1" diameter, reddish green leaves about 12 to 14 inches long, original owner. All leaves on the lower 2 inches of plant leaves are ...
view the full question and answer

Problems in germination of Asclepias tuberosa in New York
August 31, 2006 - I am a member of the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College and I need information on Acleptis tuberosa. I am in USDA zone 6. Last year I planted fresh seeds purchased from Johnny's S...
view the full question and answer

Changing bloom color from Tulsa OK
June 27, 2011 - How do you change the bloom color?
view the full question and answer

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