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 Planting Questions

Will suckering of coralberry be a problem in Homewood AL?
November 11, 2010 - I am considering planting Symphoricarpos orbiculatus in the yard of the home I just purchased. I am interested in attracting wildlife to my yard and covering over a stump with a 3' diameter. My onl...
view the full question and answer

Installing limestone walkway around trees from Pflugerville TX
June 28, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants:I wish to install a limestone walkway in my front yard, however, there are some roots(~ 1.25 inch) in the designated area. Will this hurt or kill the tree if I cut these away? T...
view the full question and answer

High water table in Glewood Springs CO
March 03, 2012 - We are considering the purchase of a home in Glenwood Springs, CO (elev. Approximately 5,000 ft) and find it strange that while neighboring properties in the subdivision have beautiful landscaping wit...
view the full question and answer

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for a prairie in southeast Texas
September 30, 2013 - We have a small place (about 100 acres) in Colorado County, Texas, on the Colorado River north of the town of Weimar. We are gradually clearing (bulldozing) the woods of cedars. One particular spot ...
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