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

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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Yucca blades damaged by weedeater in Hellertown PA
July 05, 2011 - Can I cut off the blades of a Yucca plant that have been eaten on the edges with a weed wacker and are very unsightly looking? Can they be cut back to the flower shaft?
view the full question and answer

Natural fibers for lashing bamboo in weaving
May 07, 2008 - I live in Austin and am looking for plants I can use for weaving fibers, e.g. lashing bamboo for a small project. What plants and parts do you recommend? What resources do you recommend for informatio...
view the full question and answer

Plants to hide utility boxes
July 16, 2008 - What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergree...
view the full question and answer

Stress on Goldenball leadtrees from Austin
June 07, 2014 - I know of two separate instances where young Goldenball Lead Trees (leucena retusa) have shown symptoms of defoliation and a bleeding of white sap from sores that have developed on the bark. The first...
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
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