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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - August 26, 2008

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Watering, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Leaf browning on blackfoot daisy in Arizona
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Blackfoot daisy plant was doing great; then, in one day, it turned brown like it had no water. Have a watering system in place which waters once a day for one hour 1/2 gallon a hour.

ANSWER:

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) is a low water usage perennial, heat and drought tolerant. One-half gallon of water a day, every day, sounds like overkill, or overwater, as it were. Good drainage is essential for this plant. If, when you water, water remains on the surface for a half hour or more, your drainage is poor, possibly because of clay soil. It's very possible that the roots of the blackfoot simply are drowning. Try these suggestions: First, trim off the brown upper portion of the plant, leaving any green leaves for nutrition. Then, put a good organic mulch on the ground, preferably compost or shredded bark. This will both add texture and improve drainage in the soil, and protect the roots from the heat. Moderate the watering to every other day, preferably not overhead watering, but a gentle soaking. Don't fertilize, you should never fertilize a plant under stress. Since this plant is a sturdy native perennial, even if it doesn't bloom again this year, it might come back strong in the Spring.


Melampodium leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Trees for cutout in driveway in Houston
November 12, 2010 - I live in central Houston. I have a new driveway with a cutout of 4' x 8'. I would like to plant a shade tree that will not break up the concrete. What do you recommend?
view the full question and answer

Ants in the compost pile from Georgetown TX
March 09, 2012 - Can you give me any suggestions for ridding my compost pile of ants?
view the full question and answer

Mulching tree root in San Angelo, TX
April 02, 2014 - San Angelo, Texas is in a drought stage. Will it help our trees to mulch the base of them?
view the full question and answer

Can oak pollen be composted?
April 28, 2015 - I have quite a few live oaks in my backyard and my flower beds are filled with pollen stuff. Can I compost and mulch over this or is it a good idea to rake as much as I can out first?
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
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