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

Perennials non-toxic to horses in Thayer MO
September 21, 2010 - I live in South Central Missouri. I am looking for a plant/shrub to plant in pots (our soil is clay and very rocky)to landscape the front of our barn. This plant can't be harmful to horses and must b...
view the full question and answer

Limp leaves on Texas purple sage in Magnolia TX
July 22, 2010 - Recently planted Texas purple sage, some of it looks healthy and has new blooms, but a few of the plants have limp leaves and are thin at the bottom. I read the article on cotton root rot, but am not ...
view the full question and answer

Overwatering Texas Mountain Laurel from Rosanky TX
June 06, 2012 - I just read your article in the Statesman about over watering Mt.Laurel. Now I know why my lovely 15 year old tree is dying. We put in new grass this winter and I watered too much. Is there any hop...
view the full question and answer

Combining native shrubs for hedge in Austin
April 15, 2009 - Smarty, Please tell me what the definitions are for all the various water, soil moisture, drainage and light requirements mean. Are the definitions global? I live in Central East Austin and inten...
view the full question and answer

Native grass mix suitable for Houston
December 10, 2009 - Do you have a native grass mix that is appropriate to the Houston area- or will the one you have developed to this point work as well here as it does in Central Texas? If not, when will you begin to ...
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