Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Friday - July 04, 2008

From: Taylor, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Mystic Spires salvia in transplant shock
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello. I live in Taylor, Tx. Just outside Austin, Texas. I recently planted mystic spires. One gallons and will receive the hot afternoon sun. All the research says they can tolerate this location. They have not lost their leaves, but are drooping pretty severely in the heat. Is this a result of planting in summer and that they are simply adjusting to their new home? Should I expect a more hardy appearance next year? Thank you so much.

ANSWER:

In order to talk about "Mystic Spires", we first have to talk about "Indigo Spires",  Salvia longispicata x farninacea. The "x" means it is a cross between Salvia longispicata, a native of Mexico and Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage), a native of Texas and Mexico. This was developed 40 years ago, quite by accident, by bees cross-pollinating two species of sage in Huntingdon Botanical Gardens in California. See this Floridata website Salvia "Indigo Spires". The reason we have to look at "Mystic Spires" in this way is that it is apparently a dwarf selection of "Indigo Spires." A "selection" is not a new species, but the process of choosing and breeding plants that have a different height or some other desirable characteristic. The initial information on this cross is that it should grow about 12" to 18" high and thus eliminate the tendency of the taller "Indigo Spires" to droop over when it gets too tall.

Having said all that, let's try to figure out why your new plant is not doing well. The instructions in the various sites we looked at about "Indigo Spires" indicate that it needs some good humus in the soil, especially if it is clay. In fact, one of these plants in a poorly draining clay soil will probably not survive cold weather. But that should not be what is causing your current problem. It sounds like transplant shock. It's always tough for a plant to be moved into new quarters, and doing so in the heat of summer is even harder. So, first, trim off about 1/3 to 1/2 of the top of the plant (yes, even the flowers-they'll be back), and then give it a slow, gentle watering, maybe every couple of days until it settles in a little bit. These flowers have a long blooming season, so if you help it survive moving, it will probably provide you with blooms until frost. Mostly it just needs to be given a rest, and not be required to pump moisture all the way up to the tips of those flowers. Leave as many leaves as possible below your trim area, as they provide nutrition for the plant.

 

More Transplants Questions

Can plants bought at Plant Sale wait a while in Leander TX
April 06, 2010 - I would like to buy some native plants at the upcoming sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, but my yard is not ready to receive them. We are building a new house and anticipate being able ...
view the full question and answer

Recently planted live oak tree in Boerne, TX
February 07, 2009 - My brother planted a live oak in August. It was from a nursery and had a root ball. It looks dead but I keep watering it. The trunk is about 6 inches around. The leaves died but when the winds came th...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in desert willow in Austin
November 09, 2011 - We planted a desert willow 5 days ago. It came in a 15-gallon pot but the tree is quite large (~10 ft) with a wide spread. We watered thoroughly during planting but have not watered since (light rai...
view the full question and answer

Dividing blackeyed susans in Lake Ronkoko NY
July 06, 2009 - How are you supposed to divide blackeyed susan's? And when is the best time to do this?
view the full question and answer

Soapberry Transplant shock symptoms
July 21, 2006 - Please suggest a cause & cure for general yellowing of the leaves of Western Soapberry when planted in the ground 20 miles NW of Austin (thin, poor clay over limestone). Trees still in containers are...
view the full question and answer

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