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

Sunday - June 28, 2009

From: Lancaster, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Failure to come up of blackeyed susans in Lancaster PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My blackeyed susans have been blooming for ten years. All of a sudden this year they didn't come up at all..why?

ANSWER:

We frequently get questions from gardeners similar to yours, in which a plant that has done well in a certain place suddenly begins to fail or, as in your case, simply disappears. We really have no way of knowing what has happened, about all we can do is give you questions to ask yourself to try to determine the cause and what to do about it. If those plants have done well in one spot for ten years, what about the environment could have changed in the last year? During the time they should have been coming up, was there unusual cold or rain of drought?

From our Native Plant Database, we learned this about:  Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (blackeyed Susan):

"Long-lasting blooms; if happy, will behave as perennial. This plant is a biennial - it produces a rosette of leaves the first year and flowers in the second year."

In other words, every year some of your plants were just non-blooming rosettes, and some were blooming (and seeding) second-year plants.  The plant must have been reseeding itself all those years, and for some reason, last year, it did not. So, this problem may not be one that just happened, it may have to do with an environmental change of some sort in the last two years that has broken its growing, blooming and seeding cycle. If you still like the plants, and the the area around them has not changed sufficiently to discourage their growing (too much shade from other plants, for instance), you might try refreshing the bed, adding compost or other organic matter to loosen it up and improve the drainage, and then plant fresh seeds at the appropriate time for your climate.


Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

 

 

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Need information about broadcasting wildflower seeds in a pasture 70 miles east of Dallas, TX.
April 20, 2011 - We recently moved to upper east TX - 70 miles East of Dallas. I would like to broadcast wildflowers in our pasture. I'm assuming I'll need to wait until next fall, but not sure about that. Can you t...
view the full question and answer

When to stop mowing Habiturf for seeding from Austin
November 14, 2012 - I planted a native Habiturf lawn in my back yard last spring/summer and it is doing very well. The how-to mentions allowing the turf to seed out once per year to help maintain the lawn. Is there a bes...
view the full question and answer

Keeping a Texas Madrone alive from Belton TX
October 01, 2012 - I have found a supplier of a Texas Madrone and have been wanting to grow one ever since our family vacation to Big Bend NP. My question is how do you have success with this tree? Many people say it is...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with rain runoff on a slope in Austin
March 24, 2012 - Our lawn is a year old and slopes at about a 45 degree angle with a lot of small holes and tiny gullies from water run-off. I have tried packing them with soil, but it washes away in the rain. Would ...
view the full question and answer

Germination of Purple Clematis from Junction TX
October 31, 2013 - I have some Purple Leather Vine seeds I want to share and want help learning to germinate. Can anyone there help me find interested recipients?
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