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

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

Soils for spiderwort from Round Rock TX
August 08, 2013 - We have spiderworts growing naturally in our backyard. We put a large circle around them them with limestone rock (as our beds have) to make their own bed as they clumped in one area. What kind of s...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping large area in Webster KY
February 10, 2012 - We just bought a house that we fell in love with. The land around it . . . well it has GREAT potential but is seriously lacking at the moment. Trying to get the farm up and running leaves very litt...
view the full question and answer

Correct size for Wright penstemon from Granger TX
April 21, 2012 - The Wright penstemon pictured as your main plant, looks nothing like the other pictures below it. I realize, they can be pink or red. But the LARGE speciman out in your gardens is nowhere near the 1...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control with perennials for a shady Dallas bank
July 25, 2013 - Thank you for your help with turf or perennials on a shaded bank, 4000 sq ft, for the Dallas area that has good roots, grows in semi shade to shade, is on a steep bank so cannot mow, and flowers the l...
view the full question and answer

Death of Texas Betony and Blackfoot Daisy from Austin
April 18, 2013 - I have one small area that there are two plants - Texas Betony and Blackfoot Daisy withered and died eventually. Same kinds of plants are doing fine close by. It is my front yard close to walk way.I w...
view the full question and answer

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