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
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

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Soil improvement near Kerrville, TX
December 11, 2010 - We live in the Kerrville area; the soil is extremely shallow and deficient. The yard consists of mainly native plants, with a concentration of plants for butterflies and birds. What kind of soil and ...
view the full question and answer

Suitability of Carolina Cherry Laurel for Bulverde TX
October 24, 2012 - The local Home Depot is selling Carolina Cherry Laurel Trees. They look beautiful. Is this a good tree for Bulverde TX..20 miles north of San Antonio? Can it survive? Will it be a high maintenance...
view the full question and answer

Native buffalograss in sandy loam
April 19, 2008 - I am in the Austin area and want to plant Native Texas Buffalo Grass in sandy loam from the Colorado River bed. Will this work?
view the full question and answer

Shredded hardwood for mulch
December 07, 2007 - I intend to landscape a section of my new property. but want to wait until the cold weather has passed. I have pets that will be contained within a fenced-in area that has some wild grasses but also ...
view the full question and answer

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