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

Saturday - June 05, 2010

From: Richardson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with giant coneflower in Richardson TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr Smarty Plants- I have had a giant coneflower in my garden for 2 years now. This year it came up like it always had..got lots of leaves and then withered..turned brown and died. It got plenty of sun and I have no idea why it just up and died. Needless to say I am heart broken. Can these coneflowers survive Richardson/Dallas winters? Is there something else I should know about them perhaps?

ANSWER:

We recently had a question about a plant that had been thriving simply dying overnight. A little discussion and detective work gave us the idea this was animal damage, as in cats or dogs using it for a bathroom. If you know you have cats and/or dogs loose in your neighborhood, you could at least consider that possibility. Depending on where you are, it could be animals eating the roots, although it would not have died so abruptly. If your Rudbeckia maxima (great coneflower) came up in the Spring, it would seem it can easily survive your winters, as just about the whole state had much colder weather, with sudden freezes and prolonged periods of freezing this year. 

If you saw any kind of insect damage, or suspected an accidental spraying of herbicide, perhaps drifting from another location, that could explain it. However, most native plants can withstand a few local insects. Frankly, in sudden and unexplained plant deaths like this, we seldom know the truth about what happened. If you feel that the animal damage theory is correct, you could try spreading an aromatic shredded hardwood bark mulch over the area. It is too late in the season to plant a replacement, but if you spread the mulch and then replant in the Fall, the animals might have lost interest in your area and gone somewhere else.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Rudbeckia maxima

Rudbeckia maxima

Rudbeckia maxima

Rudbeckia maxima

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Groundcover for Shady Front Beds in OK
July 15, 2014 - I need a groundcover for my front beds in Edmond, OK that are moist and in full shade. The groundcover would primarily be around and under a Japanese maple. Low maintenance is preferred.
view the full question and answer

Nativity of Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage)
September 14, 2011 - Is Salvia coccinea native to Florida? In wikipedia they say it is native to Mexico.
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant plants for Paradise, California
January 23, 2009 - We are moving to a new home in Paradise, CA. What drought resistant plants do well in Paradise ? Thank you !!
view the full question and answer

Ground cover that won't hide snakes from Asheville NC
June 29, 2012 - I have an unusual situation: several bare areas in an otherwise wooded area, which receive partial sun, and are not near water -- it rains here frequently, but the soil can become quite dry at times. ...
view the full question and answer

Early spring wildflowers of Pennsylvania
September 30, 2011 - What native wildflower is the first to bloom in Weedville, Pa? (Jay township, Elk county) I am working on a research paper for my Environmental Problems class, and this would be very helpful. Thank y...
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