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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Thursday - May 14, 2015

From: Fort Myers, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Texas sage losing inner leaves
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a Texas Sage bush that on the outside is beautiful with green leaves. The inside branches (the middle) of the bush are bare of any leaves. Why?

ANSWER:

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo), or Texas sage, is a dry land plant that responds very strongly to weather conditions.  It often loses leaves following a cold winter.  Interior leaves tend to drop off if the outer layer of leaves blocks incoming sunlight.  Some of these problems are discussed at this website.  Texas sage can be pruned severely if desired without permanent damage.  I suggest that you prune off some of the outer leaves.  The inner portion of the plant will then form new leaves.

 

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