Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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

Sticky skullcap
Scutellaria resinosa

Wright's skullcap
Scutellaria wrightii

More Pruning Questions

Dealing with live oak suckers in Central Texas
March 05, 2015 - Hi, I have a couple huge Live Oak trees in my back yard. Trunks are 4' in diameter. These Live Oaks produce a lot of root sprouts/suckers. I had always head that a tree's roots feed on water/oxyg...
view the full question and answer

Fragrant foundation plants for sunny, dry area in Illinois
August 26, 2009 - We need suggestions of what to plant on the south side of our house heave sun and rather dry soil. We just took out old dead bushes. Would prefer something that flowers and smells nice that would gr...
view the full question and answer

Control of out-of-bounds Virginia creeper
September 16, 2007 - Our Virginia creeper (Woodbine) has outgrown its planned location this past summer. What is the best way to prune ivy stems for next years controlled growth?
view the full question and answer

Eradication of mahonia repens
July 27, 2008 - What is the best way to kill and/or remove mahonia repens?
view the full question and answer

Maintenance of Bicolor Sage in Austin
February 05, 2009 - I had quite a bit of Bicolor Sage planted when my yard was landscaped. I am now wondering on the proper plant maintenance. Do I prune back and if so, how much and when do I prune?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.