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Sunday - June 23, 2013

From: Weatherford, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would one of the sage plants, such as the Mealy Blue Sage survive under these conditions?

ANSWER:

So far, you are in luck. Tbis USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage) grows natively in Parker County.This means that the right growing conditions, soils, rainfall and climate prevail in the area where you want the plant to grow.

If you click on the plant link  Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage) you will find these growing conditions:

"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."

The only thing we are concerned about is the possible need for water in the early stages of the plant's growth. In North Central Texas, as in Central Texas, the area is gripped in a dry heat wave. Very young new plants can suffer more than established plants in this situation. Here are the propagation instructions for this plant:

"Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Propagate by seed or cuttings.
Seed Collection: Collect the seeds as the capsules begin to dry but before they have dropped the seeds. Spread seeds in thin layers to dry a few days before storing in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Generally, a cold-moist stratification period is required for germination of Salvia seed. This species does require light for germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: After an extended period of flowering, you may wish to prune it halfway back to produce thicker, more compact foliage and a shorter flowering plant. Pruning may delay flowering for several weeks, but it is important in preventing leggy plants."

We found an article from the Missouri Botanical Garden on Native Seed Propagation Methods. Because the plants will have to be left untended we think it would be better to sprout the seeds in pots and make bedding plants, and then plant them out in early Spring to take advantage of Spring rains, if any. But, if that is not practical, plants have been dropping seeds on the ground, the seeds have waited for some water and then sprouted, bloomed, reseeded themselves and survived on their own for many centuries. This plant blooms from April to October, drops its seeds in the Fall and, since it is a perennial, will not bloom until the second Spring after being seeded. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

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