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

Sunday - June 23, 2013

From: Weatherford, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would one of the sage plants, such as the Mealy Blue Sage survive under these conditions?

ANSWER:

So far, you are in luck. Tbis USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage) grows natively in Parker County.This means that the right growing conditions, soils, rainfall and climate prevail in the area where you want the plant to grow.

If you click on the plant link  Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage) you will find these growing conditions:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Limestone soils. Calcareous, Limestone-based, Caliche type, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay."

The only thing we are concerned about is the possible need for water in the early stages of the plant's growth. In North Central Texas, as in Central Texas, the area is gripped in a dry heat wave. Very young new plants can suffer more than established plants in this situation. Here are the propagation instructions for this plant:

"Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Propagate by seed or cuttings.
Seed Collection: Collect the seeds as the capsules begin to dry but before they have dropped the seeds. Spread seeds in thin layers to dry a few days before storing in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Generally, a cold-moist stratification period is required for germination of Salvia seed. This species does require light for germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: After an extended period of flowering, you may wish to prune it halfway back to produce thicker, more compact foliage and a shorter flowering plant. Pruning may delay flowering for several weeks, but it is important in preventing leggy plants."

We found an article from the Missouri Botanical Garden on Native Seed Propagation Methods. Because the plants will have to be left untended we think it would be better to sprout the seeds in pots and make bedding plants, and then plant them out in early Spring to take advantage of Spring rains, if any. But, if that is not practical, plants have been dropping seeds on the ground, the seeds have waited for some water and then sprouted, bloomed, reseeded themselves and survived on their own for many centuries. This plant blooms from April to October, drops its seeds in the Fall and, since it is a perennial, will not bloom until the second Spring after being seeded. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Wildflowers for floodplain near Denton, TX
March 22, 2015 - Hello, I am a member of my HOA board and am researching the possibility of filling in our floodplains with wildflowers. Currently the floodplains are grass only and span a few acres. Our goal is to t...
view the full question and answer

Growing bluebonnets in pot in Flower Mound TX
November 01, 2011 - We received a package of bluebonnet seeds along with the DVD Wildflowers: Seeds of History as a gift. In the film, Andrea DeLong mentions that bluebonnets did not grow well in a rich organic soil. W...
view the full question and answer

When to plant wildflowers in California
December 10, 2013 - When is the best time to plant wildflowers in California?
view the full question and answer

Low, Easy Care Perennials for Lake Ontario Shore Planting
October 04, 2015 - I'm on Lake Ontario in New York. I have a lake bank slope, thatís about 1/8 mile long and about 40 feet high, and is on about a 40 degree angle. It is very hard to keep clear. The bank has just been ...
view the full question and answer

Seeding the opposite bank of a canal in Texas
June 26, 2013 - We have a canal in our backyard. I thought it would be lovely to have flowers growing on the opposite bank. I could get to it to toss seeds, but not plant anything in the dirt because the ground slop...
view the full question and answer

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