Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 Seeds and Seeding Questions

Seeds of Meremia dissecta from Austin
September 30, 2012 - I have a large quantity of seeds of Merremia dissecta that I acquired from plants growing in the parking lot of the San Antonio Museum of Art. (Hmmm… I wonder if it's called alamo vine because of som...
view the full question and answer

Starting yucca from seed from Austin
December 24, 2012 - I would like to start a soft leaf yucca recurvifolia from seed. Is that possible? Also, I've looked for seed on dried flower stalks, and I'm not sure that what I'm finding is the seed, and I ...
view the full question and answer

Number of seeds per pound for Curvepod fumewort from Bridger MT
June 17, 2010 - Do you know or where can I find the number of seeds per pound for Corydalis curvisiliqua-scrambled eggs?
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

Milkweed Seedlings Source for Austin, Texas
March 18, 2013 - Where can I find seedlings or four inch pots of common milkweed? I have a backyard garden that is mostly filtered sunlight and space for them.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.