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
3 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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Why do conifers kill Texas hummingbird sage from Gray GA
April 15, 2014 - Why do conifers kill Texas hummingbird sage?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Mexican bonebract in Floresville, TX
November 12, 2008 - My kids and I finally identified a small plant that we found growing in our pasture. There was only one and it is lovely. It is the Mexican Bonebract. What I am interested in finding out is how to tra...
view the full question and answer

Flowers under pine trees from Elkhart Indiana
May 02, 2013 - I have a number of pine trees at the back of my lot and would like to plant flowers under the tree. What can I plant?
view the full question and answer

Cutting back achillea in New York
March 18, 2009 - Last summer I planted three gorgeous hearty achillea with flat, yellow tops, about 3 feet high or more each, in my sunny garden. But after they were done flowering, I left those very pretty brown stem...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that smells like oranges in Alpine, TX
August 16, 2012 - There are patches of flat bushy like plants in lawn, smells like orange. Areas may be 10" and spreading, but when pulled has small root. How can I get rid of this plant and what is it?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center