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Sunday - September 21, 2014

From: Helotes, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Pruning, Wildflowers
Title: Shearing Pink Skullcaps
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

My pink skullcap plants keep dying. The ones that are still alive are about 3 years old, but have large sections of dry twigs. Do I shear them and hope they come back or are they gone? I live in Helotes, Texas.

ANSWER:

The Denton County Master Gardeners have an informative webpage on Pink Skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens) that might be of help.They suggest that pruning is beneficial and recommend that this be done in early spring. In your case, you can prune out your deadwood in the fall and then do another shearing next spring to shape it properly.

Here's what they say ...

A perennial herb — part of the mint family – skullcap is a native to the northeastern region of Mexico. The name comes from its resemblance to the medieval cap worn by men. It has a neat, compact mounding growth habit that works well as an edging plant or groundcover. The tiny snapdragon-like blooms are plentiful and look lovely spilling over a rock wall.

Growing them in North Texas: Plant in full or part sun in average soil with good drainage. Once established, the water requirements are low even during the hot summer months. Although not necessary, giving skullcap an occasional shearing will prevent the middle from getting too thin by encouraging newer growth. Early spring is a great time to prune out the old woody limbs.

Propagate skullcap indoors during the winter months from seed or root a stem cutting during the growing season.

 

And if you are looking to expand your skullcap collection, there are many native Scutellaria species that grow in Texas.These include Scutellaria cardiophylla, Scutellaria drummondii, Scutellaria incana, Scutellaria ovata, Scutellaria parvula, Scutellaria resinosa, and Scutellaria wrightii. Click on the name links to view more details in the Native Plant Database located at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website.


 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Gulf skullcap
Scutellaria cardiophylla

Drummond's skullcap
Scutellaria drummondii

Hoary skullcap
Scutellaria incana

Heartleaf skullcap
Scutellaria ovata

Small skullcap
Scutellaria parvula

Resin-dot skullcap
Scutellaria resinosa

Wright's skullcap
Scutellaria wrightii

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