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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 03, 2011

From: Perkasie, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Survival of wildflowers after Hurricane Irene in Perkasie PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, We have (had) a beautiful row of wildflowers and sunflowers along the one side of our house. Now that Hurricane Irene has passed, most of the flowers are matted down from the wind and rain. Any suggestions on how to repair or salvage the plants? Or do I just cut them all back, start over, and wait until next year? Thanks!

ANSWER:

We are sorry about Irene and the damage it did. Not even native plants can withstand that kind of blow. By now, you may already know the answer to your question, as your plants may be standing up and looking about to see what happened. You didn't say what plants (besides the sunflower) you had, or whether they are annuals or perennials. Both will seed out after they have bloomed; by this time, those seeds should already have gone into the ground, and hopefully not all of them were washed away. Many wildflowers are annuals, and they put out tons of seeds to provide for the eventuality you encountered, that of very bad weather. On the other hand, most perennials will die back to the ground in the Fall anyway, and return the next Spring from roots. Since you may not know which are annuals and which are perennials, we are going to suggest you trim everything down to about 6" above the ground, mostly to mark where they are when Spring comes. This will take the weight of the "drowned" upper parts of the plants, and permit them to stand up and get some sun. If the annuals simply lie there, you can pull them out at the first frost, hoping that some seeds are still down there in the protective dirt, waiting to reappear. The prennials should start putting out new leaves from the roots when the earth begins to warm next Spring.

The same information applies to your sunflowers. There are 46 plants with the common name "sunflower" native to North America, and 19 native to Pennsylvania. Some are annuals, some perennials, but all are sturdy and good at propagating themselves. You will probably get no more blooms this year, no matter what, but we believe they will be back next year.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Preparing for planting wildflower meadow in Austin
January 02, 2012 - We are in the midst of prepping beds for wildflower plantings in the spring. We spent the last month pulling up our existing lawn and invasive grasses so we are now wondering how to secure the beds f...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Castilleja latifolia in Fort Bragg CA
October 08, 2009 - What is the propagation method for Castilleja latifolia ssp. mendocinensis? Do I need to grow Castilleja latifolia ssp. mendocinensis seed with native associate plants in the propagation greenhouse be...
view the full question and answer

Perennial native wildflowers in Delaware
July 14, 2007 - I'd like to plant some perennial wildflowers around a fresh water pond near the beach in southern Delaware. Do you have some suggestions for native species that will grow in full sun? Thank you...
view the full question and answer

Why did my Prairie Flax plant die in Austin, TX?
April 27, 2012 - Hello, We planted 4 prairie flax last fall in garden. They were all growing nicely until last month when I found that one of them has completely dried up and died. The plants are planted together a...
view the full question and answer

Red selection of Coreopsis Tinctoria from Austin
June 10, 2013 - Red tall plains coreopsis is being sold @ Eden Bros. THey note it is a native, can grow to zone 10, but they say it is "not heat or drought toleranr". Cannot find verification or rebuttal anywhere. ...
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