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
4 ratings

Tuesday - August 26, 2008

From: Philadelphia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Dying blackeyed Susans in new garden in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants! I have recently planted black eyed susans in a newly dug garden along with some cone flowers. The other flowers are doing fine but the black eyed susans have all dried up and are dying. I water them every other morning, and they get full sun with the exception of some shade in the early morning. I don't see any disease or evidence of being eaten by bugs on them. What could be causing them to die? Please help a new and eager to learn gardener.

ANSWER:

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan is a hearty plant, native to Pennsylvania (as well as most of the rest of the U.S.) and should not be acting like that. We will throw out some possibilities, and perhaps you can decide if you want to keep the plants or give them up. First, since they were recently planted, it could be transplant shock. Ordinarily, we recommend that you plant bedding plants (which is what we are assuming you have) in the Spring, rather than in the hotter parts of summer. If the plants had already been on the nursery tables for several weeks, they could have been root-bound, or just dried out and not very viable. Often, plants sold in nurseries are artificially forced into bloom to make them more attractive to buyers, and later they will droop or wilt. About the best help we can offer you is to treat them for transplant shock. Trim off about the upper 1/4 to 1/3 of the plant, especially removing the dying or dead leaves, but trying to leave as many green leaves, for nutrition, as possible. Next, since it is Summer, and you say they are in full sun just about all day, put a light mulch, preferably an organic mulch of compost or shredded bark over their roots. Don't pile it against the plant stems, that will just encourage molds. Then, try giving it a slow gentle watering, not from above if possible, about twice a week. Don't fertilize, you never should fertilize a plant under stress. The blackeyed Susan is considered an annual to a short-lived perennial, so don't fret too much if they don't make it. See the propagation instructions on the webpage linked above; you might want to consider planting seeds in the Fall, rather than buying bedding plants in the Spring.


Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta

 

 

More Transplants Questions

Amendments for faster-growing trees from Bulverde TX
July 04, 2010 - What faster growing trees will grow in black gumbo clay that is about 12 inches deep above caliche rock in full sun with a sprinkler system set on 1 inch/week? How many and how much amendments such...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting American beautyberry in Cordele GA
May 19, 2014 - Is mid to late May too late in the season to transplant Callicarpa americana, American Beautyberry?
view the full question and answer

New agave plants, offshoots of parent plant, transplanting
September 16, 2007 - I have different varieties of Agaves that are sending off new plants from the mother. Some have 1-2 and some have 6-7 plants. Is there a proper method for removing (cutting them a certain way) for t...
view the full question and answer

Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain
July 21, 2008 - I had two esperanza plants. They have been planted for about four months, this spring. They were blooming and growing. We had six inches of rain in five days and they began to wilt - and then they d...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting native azaleas in South Carolina
June 09, 2005 - When is the best time to transplant azaleas in South Carolina Low Country?
view the full question and answer

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