En Español

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

School project on acid rain effects on plants from Austin
October 18, 2013 - Hi I go to an Austin high school and I am doing a project on how acid rain affects plant growth. I am wondering if you know any plants that would be more or less susceptible to acid rain for this proj...
view the full question and answer

Bugbane Leaf Blotch
January 24, 2013 - My bugbanes (Cimicifuga/Actaea) seem to suffer from black blotches on the leaves in the summer. This happens even when they have adequate moisture. I also see it on the ones growing wild. Is this a fu...
view the full question and answer

Green worms on salvias
October 12, 2008 - I recently bought a "salvia blue chiquita." Some leaves were yellowing, but full of flowers and still attractive. Have had it on my deck for less than a week and have found 2 tiny greenish "worms...
view the full question and answer

Recovery of water-stressed Agarita
August 11, 2014 - Hello! I planted a small agarita at the end of May and then left town for six weeks. During that time it was supposed to receive weekly deep irrigations to help it establish, but it seems that som...
view the full question and answer

Why is my recently planted Esperanza doing poorly in Texas City, TX?
May 28, 2010 - I have an Esperanza I planted about 2 months ago. It has been doing well, except today all but one stem of the plant is wilting and the leaves are rolling. I see no bugs on the plant. Any idea what...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center