En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 27, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Restoration of mistflowers suffering from wet season
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have planted gregg's mistflower in a bed that receives morning sun and afternoon semi-shade. It was beautiful and covered with blooms and butterflies this spring, but suddenly has become brown and sick looking near the roots and stopped blooming. Should I cut it back to the ground, or just leave it rank looking?

ANSWER:

As I note you are in Austin, you are aware that we have had a very unusual, rainy Spring. We have, in fact, already had more rain than is normal for the whole year. Conoclinium greggii (Gregg's mistflower or palmleaf thoroughwort) is a native of this area and, thus, is probably pretty shocked by all that water on its feet. Many plants of this sort require good drainage, which may mean a raised bed, or at least a soil that water can drain through before the roots of the plants in it drown. However, it's a little late for that for your mistflowers now.

I have always believed that you should never waste a root. First, of course, go ahead and trim back the long, lanky stems and dead flowers, but be sure and leave as many healthy-looking leaves as possible. Hopefully, as the rains come to an end and normal summer dryness sets in, the roots will be able to recover, but they must have leaves for nutrition. Since this plant blooms well into the Fall, perhaps dryer weather will permit it to attract the butterflies again this year. If it does not bloom again this year and appears alive but not flourishing, you might consider transplanting it to another spot where the soil will drain better, but still with the morning sun and afternoon shade you have been giving it. Always transplant in cooler weather when the plants are more dormant. Texas native plants tend to be pretty tough and we can hope these mistflowers will rise to bloom again.

 

From the Image Gallery


Gregg's mistflower
Conoclinium greggii

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Light requirements for Heartleaf Skullcap from Smithville TX
June 29, 2011 - How much sun or shade does Heartleaf Skullcap need?
view the full question and answer

Native perennials for Missouri City, TX
March 19, 2014 - I checked all the questions for my area and still need help. What are some native perennials for southeast Texas
view the full question and answer

Cottony infestation on Turk's Cap in Austin
July 05, 2010 - The Turks Cap in my front planter is well-established and, overall, happy and blooming. However, some of the top leaves, those in the most shaded area, have what looks like a thin, loose layer of cot...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for landscaping along a creek in Lenoir, NC
July 25, 2011 - I live in Lenoir, NC and would like to landscape my creek bank that is about 90 feet long and is 200 feet from my house. I thought about evergeen bushes maybe rhododendron; some grasses; a few trees ...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly plants from Austin TX
December 17, 2012 - I have a butterfly garden in the front part of the house facing the south side. However it is also mostly under a few Oak trees that cast shadow over half of the front yard starting early afternoon. ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center