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
1 rating

Sunday - May 25, 2008

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Planting, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Transplant shock in Liatris spicata
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I bought a liatris spicata start a month ago, and transplanted it into my front yard (full sun, clay soil, moist due to all the rain recently). The plant immediately wilted so I transplanted it in a pot filled with organic potting soil on the porch, in full sun again. The plant perked up for a week, and then started wilting again and now appears to be close to death. The weather has been a bit cool, but usually no colder than 50 degrees at night, and up to 70 during the day. Any idea why my plant is not happy? Could it be some sort of insect, or too much rain?

ANSWER:

Looks like your Liatris spicata (dense blazing star) has experienced a double case of transplant shock. The first time, a small "start" might have needed a little more shade right at first, and clay soil does not drain well, which this plant needs. So, transplanting it to the pot probably was a good idea, but it might have just been too much all at once. It is native to the Eastern United States, so it should be fine in Washington, DC; hopefully, it just needs some first aid. To begin with, move that pot into an area where it will get morning sun and not so much afternoon sun, at least at first. Then, trim off about one-half to one-third of the upper structure of the plant, leaving still-vigorous green leaves on the lower part, in order to provide nutrition for the plant. Don't fertilize until the plant has recovered. Keep the soil in the pot moist but, again, make sure it is draining well. This plant is found naturally in moist woodland openings, and marsh edges so you need to try to emulate those conditions. It will tolerate dryness more when it is established. You may not get much in blooms this year, but since it grows from a bulb that will possibly help to carry it over and be more vital next year. This article from North Carolina State University Extension can give you more information.


Liatris spicata

Liatris spicata

Liatris spicata
 

More Planting Questions

Plants that survive Central Texas weather
September 20, 2010 - What type of plants survive the Central Texas region weather for summer and winter?
view the full question and answer

Information about blackleaf elderberry
July 03, 2008 - I was given a blackleaf elderberry. Do I plant this tree in shade or sun? Also, does it require a lot of moisture? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a redbud in August from St. Louis MO
August 09, 2011 - I have a 4' tall redbud that needs to be transplanted before the end of August because of construction on our house. Can this be done without killing the tree? Can I take a cutting from the tree and ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Chinkapin oak from Copperas Cove TX
June 18, 2012 - I have a newly planted chinkapin oak, appx 14' tall, in the Copperas Cove TX area. It has done great for the first two weeks. Now the leaves are yellowing (June) and beginning to dry up. I water it ...
view the full question and answer

Newly planted magnolia in Hedron NE
September 19, 2010 - We planted a Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' in our landscape about 2 weeks ago. It is approx 7' tall. My question is should the leaves on it all be turning brown and crisp already or are doing some...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center