En Español

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?


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
1 rating

Monday - July 23, 2007

From: Parker, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Transplant shock in Dakota mock vervain
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We just planted some Verbena bipinnatifida in our back yard and when we planted it, it had purple flowers on it but now they've all dried up. We live in central Colorado and thought this plant was fairly drought tolerant. We do water it a few times a week but we're afraid it may have died. Can you shed some light on why the flowers may have dried up?


I believe the verbena you are referring to is Glandularia bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain), also called prairie verbena or Dakota vervain. It is native to many states, including Colorado, and adapted to higher elevations and cooler temperatures. It is a pretty drought tolerant perennial, but the ground should not be allowed to completely dry out. It has a long blooming season, and will bloom out even more in the Fall.

The first cause of your flower loss that leaps to mind is transplant shock. Even in a cooler climate like Colorado, mid-summer transplanting is hard on plants. Always trim off any dead blossoms, and certainly any leaves that appear dried up. Pruning some of the top growth at the time of transplanting to reduce stress to the plant is almost always advised. Given some recovery time, and perhaps cooler weather, it should rise and bloom again.


From the Image Gallery

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Fungus Spots on Native Bush Honeysuckle
December 03, 2010 - My native bush honeysuckle plants that I have along my back fence have leaves that are turning yellow with spots. It appears to be a type of fungus, but not powdery mildew. Any suggestions as to what ...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Habiturf. Is it dormant or dead?
July 24, 2013 - We planted habiturf in spring 2012. It's beautiful. But since last summer, we have had one area that seems to go dormant much more rapidly than the rest, even though it receives the same amount of ...
view the full question and answer

Possible Herbicide Contamination of Soil
July 07, 2016 - My mother will be 80 this year and lives in Houston, Texas. She has a raised bed garden near her neighbors fence. It has been there for many years. She feels that he uses Roundup for his weeds near a...
view the full question and answer

Rejuvenating old Lindheimer muhly clumps
October 02, 2015 - I've got two clumps of Lindheimer's muhly in full sun in the western (limestone) part of Austin. I'm thinking they've been there for the past 8 or so years. In the past two or three years, the g...
view the full question and answer

Rust on Amelancier Foliage in PA
February 03, 2015 - I live in Pennsylvania and have been plagued with a rust on my serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) trees over the past few years. I am unable to find very much information on this disease on the we...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center