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
1 rating

Friday - July 21, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Other
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Salvia, geum transplant shock symptoms
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I need some help. I transplanted 2 xeriscape plants and they are not doing well. 1 is Pitcher Sage-sorry I don't know botanical name; the other is White Avens. The've grown a lot but all the leaves are turning brown in spots. The Avens plant leaves curl down then turn completely brown and die. The leaves on the White Avens start to grow but don't get big. There is no growth of leave on the pitcher sage; the stem is turning brown. I've sprayed it with safer soap to keep mites off. What should I feed them? Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

Both Pitcher Sage, Salvia azurea var. grandiflora (formerly Salvia pitcheri) and White Avens, Geum canadense are perennial plants. Perennials typically take one or two years to recover from the stress of transplanting and three to four years to reach their maximum potential in their new location. It sounds like your plants are mainly suffering from transplant shock.

If your sage and avens were recently transplanted, the hot weather we are currently experiencing could have devastating effect on them. Remove as much of the top of the plants as you feel can be safely pruned away (up to 1/2) to reduce stressed caused by dessication. Until the roots of your plants are better established, they simply cannot support all of the top-growth they could before transplanting. Even potted plants usually suffer significant root-loss during the transplanting process.

Do not feed your plants until they show signs of recovery by beginning to put on new growth. Feeding them now can exacerbate the problems they're currently suffering and could lead to their ultimate demise. Also, horticultural soaps and oils can cause leaf scorching (phytotoxicity) if used on water-stressed plants - especially in hot weather. The symptoms you described for your avens plant sounds like a combination of water stress and phytotoxicity.

Removing some of the top-growth, providing protection from wind and especially intense sunlight, and keeping your new perennials adequately watered during the critical first few months while they're establishing new roots should lead to success with them and just about any other plant.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Red and black bugs on hibiscus
June 19, 2009 - I can't get your Keyword search to work.. I have tiny red and black bugs on my hibiscus. I have tried 2 different garden sprays and neither seems to kill the tiny bugs. They barely move on the pla...
view the full question and answer

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

Gaura Plants Dying In PA
July 16, 2014 - I had six gaura plants. They were beautiful last year. Now I have one that is doing well and the others are dying slowly one at a time. I don't understand this. They are on a slight slope and have ...
view the full question and answer

Why did my Prairie Flax plant die in Austin, TX?
April 27, 2012 - Hello, We planted 4 prairie flax last fall in garden. They were all growing nicely until last month when I found that one of them has completely dried up and died. The plants are planted together a...
view the full question and answer

Can a Quaking aspen grow in central Texas?
August 11, 2015 - I live in Austin and like the idea of a Quaking Aspen tree. I live on a creek and the tree(s) would get good sun and water. Am I crazy?
view the full question and answer

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