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Friday - September 14, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Soils, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Cedar sage not blooming in pots in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have cedar sage (salvia roemeriana) in containers on a dappled-shade apartment patio in Austin, TX. This is their first season here, transplanted in May (it's now September). All the plants have been shooting up racemes in abundance for months, but no flowers have emerged. One of the plants was flowering when transplanted; the others were very young. Do you believe the problem is simply that this is the first year after transplant, or maybe that the potting soil is not alkaline enough? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Salvia roemeriana (Cedar sage)  is well suited to container gardening, with partial shade. You can follow the link to our webpage on this plant. Note especially the following comment under Growing Conditions.

"Conditions Comments: Has a hard time perpetuating itself under deciduous hardwoods, as the large leaves on the ground will block the emergence of seedlings and of the new years growth. It really is adapted to live under junipers/cedars. If you do plant them in areas with large, fallen leaves, keep leaves cleared from areas you want the plant to naturalize in. Also, it can become stressed and stunted in continuous full sun, so plant in dappled shade."

If you have not already read it, please see our How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants. Referring back to your question about soils, and again to the webpage on Salvia roemeriana (Cedar sage), you will see this comment

"Soil Description: Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay. In the wild, occurs almost exclusively in fine, rich, fast-draining juniper leaf mulch in areas of exposed limestone."

Obviously, you can't sprinkle juniper mulch on your pots, but you can mix in a good compost to your planting soil, or even just spread it on the surface. As it decomposes, it will continue to enrich the potting soil, and to shade the roots from too much sun.

As for the blooming, this plant is a perennial and most perennials do not bloom until the second season, or even later. The plant that was already blooming when it was planted may be suffering from a little bit of transplant shock, which could be tied either to the soil it is in or the amount of sunlight it is getting.

 

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