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
1 rating

Friday - November 12, 2010

From: New Iberia, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Black-eyed Susans in potting soil on ground
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I would like to know if black eyed susans can be planted in just potting soil instead of mixing it in with dirt from the ground? I don't want to leave it in the pots. I want to plant it, but the ground is very hard, so I want to know if I can plant it above the ground in potting soil.

ANSWER:

Yes, I see that your soil is one that the USDA calls "Level, poorly drained clayey soils' - so I bet it's hard to dig up.  Good News - Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan) is a native to your area and will grow happily in moist to dry, well-drained soils.  Yes, the plants can be grown in potting soil, but better alternatives are to grow them from seed, amend your soil, or build a raised bed.

The seeds will germinate nicely if you merely scratch up your regular soil and then just scatter the seeds on the ground making sure they make good  contact with the earth.  Black-eyed Susan is so adaptable that you really don't have to do much to help it along. Many of the Black-eyed Susans found in nurseries are hybrid, bred for their showy blossoms. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends that you purchase seeds from a native seed source like Native American Seed.    However, from the phrasing of your question, it sounds like you already have your plants in pots.

I would recommend that you amend your soil with some compost, before planting. That would loosen up the dirt and add nutrients to the soil.  Black-eyed Susans are a very hardy perennial. Just be sure to plant them at the same soil level that they were grown in the pot. Another solution, which helps the drainage is to build raised beds, add compost, crushed decomposed granite, and plant your Black-eyed Susan and other flowers. They will love it! 

 
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Malpighia glabra for Austin
October 14, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I am planting native Malpighia in a raised bed that was specially prepared for growing roses (soil and amendments). This bed has been left fallow for several years. Do I need t...
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine for trellis behind fountain in Anaheim Hills CA
June 05, 2010 - We are looking for a flowering vine to plant on a trellis surrounding a water fountain. The fountain splashes leaving the soil constantly wet. We have tried numerous vines, but they all die due to t...
view the full question and answer

Disposal of Ashe juniper from Austin
March 07, 2013 - I am in western Travis County and we have been clearing our land of some of the Ashe Juniper. When there is not a burn ban, we burn them because there are just too many to shred. I was wondering if ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seeds affected by mulch in Austin
October 24, 2010 - I have a small wildflower garden in my central Austin yard. In early summer, I had some extra mulch and put it in this garden. Now I'm thinking that was a mistake. The bed has re-seeded itself for se...
view the full question and answer

Blackfoot daisy turning brown in Round Rock, TX
September 30, 2009 - A few days ago, our blackfoot daisy was doing wonderfully. Then we got heavy rains and suddenly the plant is sere and brown. Did the too wet weather do this, and will it come back next year?
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