Contact Us Host an Event 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

Sunday - February 21, 2016

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Blackfoot Daisy care in Marble Falls TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I've planted and killed a number of blackfoot daisy plants. I know it's a hardy plant that, once established needs little or no care. But what about getting them started? What care do they need for the first 3-6 months?

ANSWER:

Good Question!   [and sorry about taking so long to get to it]

You didn't give a lot of detail about what you are doing with these Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot daisy) that you killed off.  Just in that you stated that you killed a number of them - I would guess that perhaps you are caring too much for them.   Here are the Growing Contitions recommended in the Wildflower Center NPIN Database:

Water Use: Low 
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade 
Soil Moisture: Dry 
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) 
Soil Description: Dry, rocky, calcareous soils. Rocky, Gravelly Sandy, Limestone-based, Caliche type 
Conditions Comments: Blackfoot daisy is a sturdy, mounding plant, that will flourish in rock gardens. It is heat and drought tolerant. Good drainage is essential to its success. In late winter, older plants can be cut back halfway to keep them compact. Rich soil and abundant water will likely produce many more flowers in the short-term, but may consequently shorten the lifespan. 

So - Growing Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot daisy) in the general Marble Falls area looks pretty good to me, and they are officially native in Burnet County.  But the exception here is their preference for well drained soils.  Its possible that you are overwatering and/or have it in soil that is too rich.

As a similar, but slightly different thought - Mrs Smart Plants described to me that the Wildflower Center has had similar issues.  The established theory there is that nursery plants have had good planting soil and regular watering, so they are used to that.  A gentle weaning to the actual normal conditions may be needed to get them adapted.

My own plants have issues with passive neglect - - maybe yours need a bit more of that!

 

From the Image Gallery


Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Annual ryegrass and Habiturf from Austin
October 31, 2013 - We've decided to put Habiturf in our freshly cleared back yard that was overgrown with sticky burs and crabgrass, but now that it is fall, would you recommend putting in a cover crop of annual ryegra...
view the full question and answer

Growth of yucca from seed pods from Saginaw MI
October 05, 2013 - How do you grow a yucca plant from the pods? Do I need to dry out the pods first?
view the full question and answer

Few bluebonnets on MoPac in Austin
March 30, 2013 - The grass fields along Mopac from Lake Lady Bird to Southwest Parkway usually have a grand display of bluebonnets. This year I do not see any color at all. Can you help me understand what is happening...
view the full question and answer

Annual Native Plants for Interplanting in Iowa
January 20, 2015 - I'm looking for suggestions for annuals that will flower from seed or from spring plants. I want to use them to fill in the space around newly planted coneflowers and asters that I fear will look spa...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in memorial garden in cemetery
April 11, 2008 - When is the peak time to scatter bluebonnet seeds? I have a loved one that recently died, and she requested that her body be cremated. She would like her ashes to be mixed with bluebonnet seeds and ...
view the full question and answer

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