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
2 ratings

Saturday - October 03, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to Deal with Leggy Artemisia 'Silver Mound'
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have two Artemisia (I think 'Silver Mound') in full sun in West Austin. They have been happily growing there for the past 10 or so years. Both were hard-hit by last winter's cold weather and did not recover well this summer. I did give them a hard prune in early spring (which I have done probably bi-annually to these plants) and neither grew vigorously this spring and summer. Both are leggy, and neither leafed out at the base and interior of the plant. The weather this year was weird - a particularly cold winter with the first hard freeze in October and an unusually wet spring followed by a very dry summer. Is there anything I can do to re-invigorate these plants? Do Artemisia have a lifespan, or will they grow forever?

ANSWER:

Artemisia, like many other perennials do have a general lifespan and will become less vigorous as each year passes. You will also notice that the plant will get woodier as it ages. It is important to divide many perennials every 3-4 years so they keep producing vigorous new shoots. With Artemisia, take a sharp spade and slice through the clump removing the older center portions. Keep the younger, more vigorous parts of the plant from the outer perimeter of the clump.

Julie Ryan in her book "Perennial Gardens for Texas" says that 'Silver Mound' (a cultivar of non-native A. schmidtiana) is very fine-leaved and creates soft mounds of misty, cloud-like foliage. It is not usually invasive. Seldom over a foot in height, it makes an excellent border or rock garden plant. The middle of the clump tends to die out, but well-drained soil, allowing ample room for each plant, and trimming plants back before they bloom help prevent this.
Artemisia are not set back by the heat of late summer except in high humidity: the combination makes them prone to rot.  She also writes that it likes well-drained soil and does better in poor, sandy soils than rich ones.

So, for next year, prune them somewhat hard again in the early spring and perhaps divide them and replant the more vigorous sections at that time too.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Bluebonnets for Shanghai
June 25, 2012 - I am a Texas native that now lives in Shanghai, and I am trying to grow a little piece of home (Texas bluebonnets) indoors, and I was wondering: a. Do you have any ideal soil recipes that bluebonne...
view the full question and answer

Non-native arica palm
October 21, 2008 - I have been watering an arica palm in my house in Va. Beach, VA. The leaves continue to get brown, dry up and die. I'm not sure if it has a disease or something else. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Why are our Euphorbia myrsinites plants dying in Soquel, CA?
August 02, 2010 - Some of our Euphorbia myrsinites die in our garden for reasons we cannot understand. Do you have any explanation or suggest area we should be looking for?
view the full question and answer

California plants poisonous to dogs from Sacramento
July 01, 2012 - Found dodonea viscosa purple. Is it poisonous to dogs? Also Gold Star Potentilla. Going drought tolerant and need small trees, shrubs and plants not poisonous to dogs for sun and partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Planting time for non-natives in Irving TX
February 07, 2012 - Have dwarf nandinas and two lorapetalums that I want to transplant. Can I do it now February 6th 2012?
view the full question and answer

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