En Español

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

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 Watering Questions

Repotting of lemon cypress for drainage
October 26, 2008 - Hi, I bought a lemon cypress tree in a nice tin, It is in Plastic and the bottom has about 1.5" of water with no drainage in the plastic or tin. It will be kept inside. Does the plant need to be in...
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

Should I acidify my well water for native plants
July 15, 2008 - Should I acidify my well water for irrigation of native plants? There is not enough rainwater collection.
view the full question and answer

How to care for newly transplanted Live Oak.
July 02, 2009 - I planted 3 B & B, 6" caliper live oaks in February and they lost most of their leaves during the normal time but when the new leaves grew back the amount of leaves were quite a bit less. I have th...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Texas natives garden
August 20, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I thought that my new Texas Natives garden was recuperating from ALL the rain. But, suddenly, my Texas Red Bud and the Eve's Necklace next to it have MANY yellow leaves. Is the...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center