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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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Saturday - January 30, 2016

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Pruning Leggy Santolina
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We are members of the society and have loved your section offering advice. We have green santolina that is becoming quite leggy. I would like to prune them to get them more compact come spring and summer. Can I do it and how much do you recommend?

ANSWER:

Santolina virens (green lavender cotton) is native to the Mediterranean region so you won't find any details about it on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website. But I do know that you can prune it back quite hard and it will resprout easily from the base of the plant. Do this in late winter just before it starts to put on a lot of new growth. You can start by pruning 1/3 of the branches or alternatively cut the entire plant back to 1/2 the height.

 

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