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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 31, 2012

From: Comfort, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Non-native Jerusalem Sage from Comfort TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Comfort, TX. I have 3 Jerusalem sage plants that bloom beautifully each year. However, just the past week one has started turning yellow and brown. The leaves look withered and ready to die. Another in another part of the yard is starting to do the same. They are in well-drained soil and full sun. I have sprayed them with Green Light Fruit Tree Spray just in case there is a little unseen predator on the leaves. I don't recall this happening before. They even made it through the terrible drought we had the past couple of years. Could iti be something as simple as needing an iron supplement or some other kind of nutrient?

ANSWER:

Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem sage) - native to Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Turkey does not appear in our Native Plant Database. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which that plant grows naturally, so this plant falls outside our area of expertise. The use of native plants makes survival and thriving of the plant more likely because they will be accustomed by centuries of experience to the climate, soils and rainfall where they are growing.

Since we know nothing about this plant, here is an article from Perennials.com on Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem Sage). This USDA Plant Profile Map does not show it growing in Texas at all, but only in California. That doesn't necessarily mean it won't grow in Texas, but only that it has not been reported growing there. We suspect it may not find the soil compatible with its needs, and it may need some shade in Kendall County, Central Texas.

Perhaps you can get some more information from this article from the Sonoma County (California) Master Gardeners.

Oh, and one more thing - we don't recommend any kind of "just in case" application of chemicals or fertilizers unless you have a clear indication that it is needed and appropriate. You can do more harm than good.

Pictures of Jerusalem Sage.

 

 

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