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

Sunday - September 16, 2007

From: Kettle Falls, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Encouraging Daisies to Reappear
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Having moved into our home in the early spring of the year we hadn't seen any of the flowering plants around the place until we were living here and we were not given any info on care for them. So we were pleasantly surprised to find Irises, tulips, poppies, Johnny jump ups, and daisies coming up in various places. I didn't pay much mind to the daisies, knowing they were an 'easy care' plant. The clump of tall stems with large white flowers had been nearly two feet in diameter and bloomed profusely for two years in a row. I had noticed they were a bit crowded and had plans to separate the plants when I could see them again this spring. But I was disappointed-- they never showed up. There is not even any green in the area. Must I replant? Or is there some other way I can encourage them to 'resurrect' next spring? If I replant, when is the best time to separate the plants when crowding occurs?

ANSWER:

Sounds like you were very fortunate in that the previous owner of your property was a gardener. As there are literally dozens of flowers with "daisy" in their common names, we first tried to establish what your missing plant was. Since at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we specialize in the preservation and propagation of plants native to North America, we started with our Native Plant Database. We found Erigeron annuus (eastern daisy fleabane) and Layia glandulosa (whitedaisy tidytips), pictures below, that seemed to come close to your description. Both are found in Washington State but, alas, both are annuals. Both do reseed, and the lack of return this year could be due to hungry birds getting to the seed before it could germinate, too much water, too little water, or a too-eager gardener pulling up in early Spring what was thought to be a weed.

We then went looking for a likely possibility in non-natives. Chrysanthemum maximum, commonly called the Shasta daisy, seems the best candidate. They are perennials and have widely naturalized in North America but are natives of Europe. Why did they disappear? Kind of a mystery, but again, it could have been water standing in the bed, which would have caused the roots to rot. Some perennials are referred to as short-lived perennials, which means they only survive a few years before they disappear, and since they were already there when you moved in, there is no way of knowing how long they had already lived. And can they be resurrected? Sorry, it would have prevented a lot of grief and mourning in our own gardens if such a thing were possible. If you decide to replant, the best time to plant as well as to divide depends on the climate in which you live. In Texas, we prefer to do both in the Fall, when the weather cools off (a little) and we can usually expect more rain. If you are in the more temperate climate of Washington, near the coast, you can probably do the same. However, if your average low temperature is 20 deg or below, you would probably be better off waiting for the soil and air to warm up in the Spring. Planting in the Fall means the roots can get established before the blazing heat of Summer. Planting in the Spring means the new plants don't have to withstand low temperatures before they get established.


Erigeron annuus

Layia glandulosa

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Care of recently propagated Century Plant from Litchfield Park AZ
April 24, 2011 - To germinate some century plant seeds I put them in dirt and put the pot in a tray of water. Now, I have 3 sprouts about an inch tall and they came up about an inch apart. Question is, how should I w...
view the full question and answer

Seed source for Carex texensis from Louisville KY
May 02, 2012 - Your reply to my question re a grass for my Kentucky home with cistern only water available was much appreciated, Carex texensis was recommended. I am unable to find this product for sale other than ...
view the full question and answer

Revegetation with Rosa Woodsii in Heber UT
July 26, 2013 - I am using Woods Roses for a revegetation project (to stop trail short cutting) in a public picnic area. Growing them from seed was too slow so I am experimenting with transplanting and it is working ...
view the full question and answer

Assuring berries on Viburnum dentatum
October 27, 2008 - I just purchased 2 blue muffin viburnum bushes-I live in Kansas-How many years will it be before they get berries? They are full size(3-4 ft) Do I need to trim them down for winter or just mulch the...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of indoor plants for school project
January 28, 2008 - I have an assignment for school that requires that I get two indoor plants. One has to grow in water and one has to grow in soil. Each plant needs to grow at a fast pace, and at about the same pace....
view the full question and answer

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