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

Getting rid of algae on dirt and patio
January 12, 2011 - Algae and on patio and dirt, and how to get rid of same?
view the full question and answer

What to do with a sickly American elm in Austin, Texas
September 27, 2010 - I have an American elm that is about 6 feet tall in my yard. It is has not grown quickly this year--as compared to another American Elm that I have in another spot that is about 3 feet tall and has m...
view the full question and answer

Too late to begin planting in May in Austin?
April 30, 2008 - Is it too late to begin planting in May? I live in Austin Texas and have finally completed my plans for a native Texas landscaping (plants and grass) of my front yard. I'd like to get the landscapi...
view the full question and answer

Replacing a Mexican ash with a live oak in Rockport TX
April 25, 2010 - I live in the Texas Coastal Bend (Rockport, TX). I recently lost a huge Mexican Ash, probably 45 years old. The trunk measures 11'6" at ground level, and gets progressively larger from there up. Its...
view the full question and answer

What hydrangeas can be grown in Austin?
June 02, 2011 - I was told that oak leaf hydrangea was the only hydrangea variety that could be successfully grown in Austin TX. My oakleaf hydrangea is doing great and I would like to plant other varieties. Can you...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center