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
2 ratings

Tuesday - April 18, 2006

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils
Title: Proper soil for Blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in San Antonio. Have taken landscape course at the center several years ago-(fabulous)! I am putting in a raised portion of the garden this year with Blackfoot Daisies. Can you tell me where to find the proper growing medium for them somewhere in this area or in Austin... will travel!

ANSWER:

Blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) wants high pH soil. You should avoid adding any kind of acidifying organic matter to the soil—peat moss, tree shred, most compost, manure—but you should make sure the soil has good drainage. If it's clayey or tends to stay moist, you will want to add course sand (builders sand, or river sand) to loosen the soil and mound it up to allow more aeration. Once established, the plants will need little supplemental water unless the soil is now too porous. Liberal watering may cause them to bloom more abundantly in the short term, but ultimately shorten their lifespan.

You can check the National Suppliers Directory for nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants and supplies for them. The Austin Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas lists additional sources for native plants.

 

More Soils Questions

Care of Ixora by lowering soil pH
March 24, 2007 - I have a bunch of Ixoras that the leaves are turning brown, before I pull them out, is there any kind of treatment to save them? I have used insecticidal soap several times but there has been no impro...
view the full question and answer

Plant mistakes from Cedar Park, TX
April 09, 2014 - At our "Wilts End" in Cedar Park, TX. and are looking for a tall shrub/tree that will hide a 6-ft tall concrete wall and muffle the noise from a busy street. The wall forms a very wide-angled V shap...
view the full question and answer

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Seeding the banks of a large pond
October 18, 2011 - I have a 2 acre surface pond that is mostly a hard clay bank all around. The water level is way down and I will begin filling it very soon. I need to somehow being affordable, plant something or thing...
view the full question and answer

Apartment Landscaping
September 13, 2005 - I live in an apartment and have a small patch filled with rocks and an ugly plant I don't know the name of. I want to take out the existing plants and put something else in. It has to be hearty,low m...
view the full question and answer

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