En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Deadheading Mexican hat to produce more blooms in Austin

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

Monday - July 05, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Deadheading Mexican hat to produce more blooms in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have several Mexican hat (rudbeckia) plants growing wild in my yard. Would deadheading now give them a second flush of bloom in fall?

ANSWER:

It is almost always a good idea to deadhead flowers to encourage reblooming, whether they are perennial or annual. The Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower) is a perennial, but the best way to reproduce it is by seed. The first order of business for any organism is to reproduce itself; in the case of a plant it usually does so by producing seeds. The seeds are a result of the blooming of the plant, which blooms may attract propagators like bees or birds, and then the seeds are produced. Seed production follows along as the bloom begins to dry. If the  bloom is snipped off, usually down to the next twig joint, the plant's plans to reproduced itself will have been thwarted, and it will start up some more buds and blooms, at least until the season is over and/or the plant is exhausted. The blooming period of the Mexican hat is from May to October, with variations allowing for the difference in climate in the 36 states and 4 Canadian provinces in which this plant grows. If you have blooms on your plants now, in early July, you can begin snipping off the fading blooms before they set seed. Most plants do seem to have spurts, or what you refer to as a second flush, of blooms, so you may think you have lost any further blooming when you deadhead like that. However, in a matter of a week or so, new buds will begin to form, and you can go through the whole cycle again. Of course, if you want the plant to self-seed itself, you should leave some of the drying blooms alone, and either harvest the seed or let it fall in place, for more fresh plants next year. Please note that plants that you are encouraging to re-bloom and thus re-seed will need a little extra water as that is going on-you are basically asking the plant to go above and beyond its usual procedure.

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Very easy to propagate from seed in spring or fall though a fall seeding is recommended. Seeds do not have to be treated but may benefit from a period of stratification. Plants from seed usually bloom the second year. Be sure the seed is in good contact with the soil by lightly raking it into loose topsoil. Seeding rate is two to four pounds per acre. There are approximately 1,230,000 seeds per pound.
Seed Collection: Seed is available commercially or can be collected in late summer. Collect seed from several plants to increase the spectrum of color. If possible, collect seed from plants with solid yellow ray petals to contrast with plants with reddish-brown ray plants.
Seed Treatment: Stratify at 40 degrees for 9 weeks.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Supplemental watering may be required if the winter and spring are unusually dry. Watering in summer often extends the flowering period. After flowering ceases, allow seed to completely mature (let cones become dry and brown) before mowing for reseeding or collecting seed to plant in another area.

 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican hat
Ratibida columnifera

Mexican hat
Ratibida columnifera

More Pruning Questions

Non-blooming Tecoma stans in Fredericksburg, TX
June 30, 2008 - We have an esperanza plant purchased last year from Walmart and planted outside before winter. It flowered excellently last year. Just before winter we cut it back to about a foot. So far this summer ...
view the full question and answer

When should salvia greggii be pruned from Austin
December 12, 2013 - Should salvia greggii be pruned in fall/winter? I thought I read onsite that all woody perennials should be left untouched or pruned to 6 inches. Does this apply to salvia greggii?
view the full question and answer

Planting and care of Desert Willow in Golden Valley, AZ.
May 17, 2013 - I got a desert willow to plant in yard. Some of the leaves dried out before I could plant. Will that stop the tree from growing into a decent size tree or stay as a shrub?
view the full question and answer

Sun loving plants for flower bed by the pool in Weatherford Texas
October 03, 2011 - We have a 40' long x 2 1/2' wide flowerbed along our pool. It is in full sun with the pool deck across the front and a 6' privacy fence across back. Also, the level of the bed is 18" below the l...
view the full question and answer

pruning Chinkapin oak, Loquat and Monterrey oak trees
December 07, 2012 - What is the best time to plant a 45-65 gal. Chinkapin oak tree in Pflugerville. Also, when can i prune fig trees, Loquat trees and a Monterrey oak. Thanks for the information.
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