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

Tuesday - May 07, 2013

From: Canyon Lake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Mealy blue sage drooping from Canyon Lake TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mealy Blue Sage @ 4 ft Tall - Planted three Mealy Blue Sage last year and they topped out at 2 ft tall. This year they are 4 ft tall in early May, and many of the stems are growing near horizontally. Plants receive sun until 2PM. I don't believe I over-fertilized. What's causing this growth?

ANSWER:

If you follow this plant link Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage) to our webpage on this plant, you should note this line right at the beginning of the first paragraph;

"This 2-3 ft. upright or sprawling perennial, usually forms a mound as wide as the plant is tall."

The fact that you mentioned fertilizer brings to mind the fact the native plants that are planted in the right place don't need fertilizer at all. We think you may have overloved your plants. As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map, Mealy blue sage is most definitely native to Comal County, and seems to be doing just fine. We selected some pictures from our Image Gallery, below, to illustrate our point.

From our webpage, here are the growing conditions of this plant:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Limestone soils. Calcareous, Limestone-based, Caliche type, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay.
Conditions Comments: Mealy blue sage grows well in perennial borders and wildflower meadows. The foliage is aromatic and deer resistant. When new basal foliage appears, cut the old flower stems to keep the plants lush. Will bloom off and on throughout the summer. Butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy the nectar. Mealy blue sage provides an attractive mass of color in beds, borders and naturalized areas. Wet soil will make the plant leggy and weak."

Note the instructions for cutting back old flower stems to keep the plant lush. And it has low water use, so wet flowerbeds will make the plant leggy and weak.

 

From the Image Gallery


Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
June 03, 2010 - I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.
view the full question and answer

Fertilizer producing leaves over flower production in Austin
June 27, 2010 - Can you please list which Central Texas perennials' will favor leaf growth over flower production when fertilized? I have many in the "Grown Green" booklet and need to know which flowering plants s...
view the full question and answer

Plants for narrow planter boxes in San Antonio
October 02, 2010 - We have a narrow flower planter box in three sections above a french drain in front of our house. The box is about 2 feet high (filled with Gardenville soil) above a french drain covered with filter ...
view the full question and answer

Perennial for cemetery plot in Massachusetts
August 03, 2010 - What perennial would work well in a cemetery plot that has very dry sun?
view the full question and answer

Bringing Non-native Cannas out of Winter Storage
February 15, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants - Is it possible to force canna tubers? Would placing them on a heating pad help? I am in Ohio - zone 5. Thank you
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center