Mexican Sage - no flowers

Contrary_Mary_CAAugust 17, 2005

I planted two Mexican Sage last summer that went nuts, grew, blossomed, and took over an area that was obviously going to be too small. They far exceeded what their labeling said. I moved them in winter when they were dormant to an area in the backyard that they can do all the growing and blooming they want. Well both plants are about 30" high, healthy and NOT ONE flower stalk has shown up. What has happened? The conditions from the front yard to the backyard are not different. So frustrating. Also the verbena that I planted in May from the 6 pk have not really taken off, although 5 ft. away the apricot ones are flourishing. I work so hard at gardening, read about it, make sure I'm only using plants that should do well, irrigating properly but it all seems so much harder than it should be and I'm not a newbie. My husband is completely fed up and says no one should have to work this hard to make a yard do well. Any other people in my zone that can throw in some comments as well as anyone else?

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DanaDW(z8 NV)

My guess on your sage would be to just give it time, you'll probably get much better performance next summer.

Verbenas..I've had mixed results with different types. Some of the cultivars touted as being so fabulous just do not perform all that well in the high desert...or at least that's been my experience. "Homestead Purple" being one main example, it consistently underperforms here, tends to need lots of extra care and stays much smaller and less floriferous than it reportedly does elsewhere in the country. "Sissinghurst" on the other hand takes off like a rocket with minimal watering and no special soil amendment. Basically my personal experience with verbena is that they are definitely not all created equal. Water needs and soil preferences seem to vary quite a bit. I know they are all supposed to be "drought tolerant" but what someone on the east coast might consider DT is way different from something that actually IS in our climate. My best luck with the needier ones has been to grow them in areas that get some afternoon shade where I do more watering.

I've learned to pretty much ignore the "full sun" recommendation too. Nearly anything will benefit from some afternoon shade here. My mexican bush sage gets shaded over by about 3pm and is fine with that. It can survive here in full sun but all in all looks better with that bit of shade.

I've also found much greater success using a few mail order nurseries that specialize in truly drought and heat tolerant plants. Local garden centers are nice but tend to carry mostly varieties that are lovely but not truly adapted to our climate.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 6:11PM
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hbell16(8LV NV)

I would have to agree, I had terrible luck over the summer with Homestead Purple verbena when planted in full sun. I also have it in afternoon shade and it came back quite nicely after the weather lowered to 100 degrees. I also have 2 other verbena hybrids, Tapien Blue Violet and Babylon Neon Rose. Both are in afternoon shade and full sun. Once again, during the dead heat of summer the ones in full sun did not make it but the shade ones did fine. I too have a Mexican Sage Bush that gets afternoon shade and it is blooming like crazy right now. I also agree that almost anything will appreciate some shade regardless of the "full sun" tag, at least from my expereince in Las Vegas. I just joined this board and am excited to get advice from everyone! Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 10:38PM
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Mary, I've been having the same problem.

I planted 5 Mexican sage bushes 6 weeks ago when they were small and had flowers. Now with their phenomenal growth (watering, fertilizer, full sun, etc), there's not a single darn new flower, and all of the old flowers are white instead of purple.

Hummingbirds won't touch 'em anymore.

Did you ever get any new flowers, and how long did you have to ultimately wait since the time you planted/re-planted them?

The nursery where I got 'em said they'd never seen this before, and gave me 2 options: Either 1) wait and see wait happens, and be patient, or 2) they replace the non-flowering bushes.

The leaf and branch growth is out-of-this world. They are lush green leaves, and the bushes must have grown at least 1 foot since they were planted.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 3:22PM
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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

Mexican Bush Sage DO NOT like to be fertilized or watered once established. Also, note that these beauties bloom in the fall, September in southern NM. and stem die back in winter.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 4:00PM
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