En Español

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - November 21, 2013

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Soils, Shrubs
Title: Yellowing leaves of Texas Sage (Cenizo) from Las Vegas NV
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Leaves of Texas Sage are turning yellow. Can you tell me why?

ANSWER:

First, we need to define terms. Once again, the Curse of the Common Name has struck. In our Native Plant Database are two very different plants with the common name "Texas Sage."

  Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)

Salvia texana (Texas sage)

We are betting you are concerned with the Cenizo, a lovely blue-gray leaved shrub that is endemic to Texas,  growing mostly in West and Central Texas. From our webpage on Salvia texana (Texas sage):

"Salvia texana, at first glance, is very much like Engelmanns sage (Salvia engelmannii), an herbaceous perennial up to one and a half feet tall with purple-blue blooms, but Salvia texana has a longer bloom period and its smaller, darker flowers are topped by unopened green buds. It shares a common name, Texas Sage, with Leucophyllum frutescens, more often known as Cenizo, a very different, much larger shrub. Salvia texana is a denizen of limestone soils from north-central Texas south to northern Mexico."

Neither plant is native to Las Vegas NV, so it may very well be that incorrect growing conditions are causing the problem. 

Generally, when leaves turn yellow and it is not the season to do so, it means chlorisis or an absence of some needed nutrient from the soil.

From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on chlorosis:

"Yellowish leaves could indicate chlorosis, or lack of iron being taken up by the plant from the soil. This is often caused  by poor drainage and/or dense clay soil, which causes water to stand on the roots. Again, this could  be a problem caused by planting, perhaps without any organic material added to hole, or damage to the tiny rootlets that take up water and trace elements, including iron, from the soil."

Follow each plant link above to our webpages on the respective plants, comparing your growing conditions in Nevada with those considered appropriate to each plant. From the growing conditions for Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo):

"Humidity and high night temperatures are lethal. Cenizos should not be fertilized or over-watered."

The growing conditions for Salvia texana (Texas sage) shows it is a low water plant and: 

"Soil Description: Found in limestone soils of consistencies ranging from sandy to clay and rocky caliche."

 

From the Image Gallery


Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Texas sage
Salvia texana

Texas sage
Salvia texana

Texas sage
Salvia texana

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Are brown junipers (Juniperus ashei) dead?
November 08, 2011 - If the cedar/junipers in our area are brown, will they ever come back green? Or just clear them out as dead. There are many of them due to the drought. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Problem with unknown tree in Austin, Texas
July 23, 2013 - Have recently moved to Austin, Texas and have a tree in my backyard that has been dropping leaves and one major branch appears to be dead. That branch has hard rust colored sap circles (about penny si...
view the full question and answer

Insect damage on possumhaw
August 12, 2012 - We planted a small possumhaw in February of this year (2012). It had leaves and some berries and was doing real well until some bug starting eating the leaves and berries. I know it is not deer becau...
view the full question and answer

Sap dripping from redbud in Bertram, TX
March 03, 2014 - Our multi-trunked Texas redbud has sap dripping down 3 of the trunks. It seems to originate from a very small crack in each trunk. The tree is just starting to show pink this week, and is about to blo...
view the full question and answer

Rust on Blackberry
April 17, 2015 - I have two new blackberry bushes that I planted fall 2014. Only weeks after I planted the plant began to have rust color balls under the leaves then leaves began to die and fall off. When I returned t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center