Rent Shop 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

Saturday - July 28, 2012

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Problems with Silverado Sage in Pearland, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi, We have three Silverado Sage bushes we planted last year. They did great during the drought. However, this winter they had a severed leaf drop of mostly just the centers of them. These center leaves have not returned, they now only have leaves and some flowers on the last six inches of outside branches. We live near Houston. Any ideas on what we can do? They really look awful.

ANSWER:

Silverado Sage is a cultivar of Cenizo Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) which is a native Texas plant found mostly in southern Texas counties west of the Brazos River. (see distribution).  The Plant  Profile from the NPIN page says this abut its growing conditions.

Growing Conditions
Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky, well-drained soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: According to legend, Cenizo tends to bloom in conjunction with rainfall. Cenizo is easy to grow so long as it has good drainage. Though this species is the most irrigation-tolerant of the genus, it is susceptible to cotton root rot if soil does not have good drainage and remains moist. Humidity and high night temperatures are lethal. Cenizos should not be fertilized or over-watered. Drought- and heat-tolerant. During very cold winters, may lose a few leaves.

While it is difficult to diagnose plants from written descriptions, you have given a couple helpful clues. First of all, since the plants were planted only a year ago, they could be suffering from transplant shock. I’m including two links to northscaping.com that further explain transplant shock, and offer suggestions for correcting the problem.

Ten Tips for Minimizing Transplant Shock 

First Year Tree and Shrub Care

Secondly, since you are attempting to grow a “desert plant” in the Houston area, overwatering may be the problem. The key is to have well drained soil for the Cenizo to get its roots established.

Two links that might prove helpful:

davesgarden.com A forum discussing Silverado Sage.

greenthumbarticles.com  An article about over-watering

 

From the Image Gallery


Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

More Watering Questions

Irrigation of landscaping project after 1 year in San Antonio
November 10, 2010 - Hello, I am working on a project in San Antonio where the following vegetation types have been specified: cedar elm, bald cypress, 'Tifway 419' bermuda grass, mountain laurel, esperanza, and lantana...
view the full question and answer

Topmost leaves on yucca are brown
June 08, 2009 - I live in the Lansing, Michigan area, in the lower peninsula and have a couple yuccas whose topmost leaves are brown emerging from winter. Do I prune those, or has the plant died? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Has overwatering harmed cherry laurels in Austin?
September 27, 2011 - I am so upset. I know we've been having a terrible drought this year in Austin, and I've been trying to balance water conservation with protecting our recent very large investment for massive lands...
view the full question and answer

Shriveling agave from Miami Florida
August 23, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Most upset - My beautiful agave (wish I could have submitted an image) has stared to misbehave. The once first liquid filled leaves, are starting to look more like the skin ...
view the full question and answer

Root rot and transplant shock in Texas betony
July 13, 2006 - Texas betony is supposed to be drought resistant but also likes to be kept moist, but I have had trouble getting it established. These seem to be undemanding plants I have had entire stems dry up and...
view the full question and answer

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