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

Savannah Holly True to Seed?
July 03, 2016 - I read your information on Savannah holly. Does this mean that none of the berries will produce a Savannah holly (Ilex x attenuata) but will either be Ilex cassine or Ilex opaca seeds? Thanks so much...
view the full question and answer

How to make a lawn into a prairie in Arlington, Texas
September 15, 2010 - I am removing lawn grasses in order to start a native prairie meadow. After grass removal, I'll put down 1/2" of compost. I will broadcast wildflower seeds on the compost. If I mulch after broadcas...
view the full question and answer

Timing for mowing wildflower meadow
August 29, 2013 - Last spring (2012) we planted a wildflower/shortgrass meadow on a caliche slope surrounding the back of our house. We terraced with rocks and spread some topsoil thinly before sowing the seed. It di...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with rain runoff on a slope in Austin
March 24, 2012 - Our lawn is a year old and slopes at about a 45 degree angle with a lot of small holes and tiny gullies from water run-off. I have tried packing them with soil, but it washes away in the rain. Would ...
view the full question and answer

Will Habiturf be chicken feed from New Caney TX
November 21, 2013 - How well does your recommended native turf grass mix hold up against chickens or do double duty as feed? I have a mixed use property that will house Rabbits, Poultry (chickens/duck/geese), and ev...
view the full question and answer

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