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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - October 31, 2013

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Strappy leaves on rudbeckias from Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My Rudbeckias keep sending up odd shoots with strappy leaves on them. Should these be cut off? What is their purpose?

ANSWER:

There are 20 members of the genus Rudbeckia and family Asteraceae (aster) native to North America, 14 of which are native to Texas. Three of those are found growing natively in and around Harris County. Since we don't know which ruckbeckia you have, we will choose Rudbeckia maxima (Giant coneflower) as a representive example. Below are three pictures from our Image Gallery. The first is of the bloom, the second of the rather oval-shaped leaf and the third of slightly more "strappy" looking, longer and more slender leaves. So, it could simply be a matter of your perception of what is a properly shaped leaf for this plant.

However, if you will follow the plant link above to our webpage on this plant, you will see this line:

"It should be cut back to the base after blooming to keep tidy and be planted in mass for best effect in landscapes."

Since the plant blooms from July to September, you might as well cut all the stems back, as we recommend for most perennials, and not worry about whether to cut back the ones that you feel might be abnormal.

 

From the Image Gallery


Giant coneflower
Rudbeckia maxima

Giant coneflower
Rudbeckia maxima

Giant coneflower
Rudbeckia maxima

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Newly planted anacacho leaf browning
October 15, 2007 - I have just put my anacacho orchid into the ground and its leaves are turning brown and falling off. Is that normal for this time of year, or have I shocked it? What can I do to ensure its health?
view the full question and answer

Bacterial spot in peach tree in McDade TX
February 05, 2009 - I have a Red Globe peach tree which was planted in February 2008. The local agricultural extension agent identified the tree as having Bacterial Spot in November 2008. They recommended copper hydrox...
view the full question and answer

Green cyst-like growths on Texas persimmon leaves
September 20, 2013 - We have a mature Texas persimmon. We just noticed some green cyst-like growths on the tops of some of the leaves. The undersides of those leaves have black spots where the growths are. They looks like...
view the full question and answer

Elimination of dirt dauber insects
August 18, 2006 - Hello - I live in the southeast part of Guadalupe Co. in the post oak savanna area. Do you have any suggestions on how to control dirt dauber dirt/mud nests. I know these critters are beneficial, bu...
view the full question and answer

Sap dripping from redbud in Bertram, TX
March 03, 2014 - Our multi-trunked Texas redbud has sap dripping down 3 of the trunks. It seems to originate from a very small crack in each trunk. The tree is just starting to show pink this week, and is about to blo...
view the full question and answer

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