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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - July 23, 2007

From: Parker, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Transplant shock in Dakota mock vervain
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We just planted some Verbena bipinnatifida in our back yard and when we planted it, it had purple flowers on it but now they've all dried up. We live in central Colorado and thought this plant was fairly drought tolerant. We do water it a few times a week but we're afraid it may have died. Can you shed some light on why the flowers may have dried up?

ANSWER:

I believe the verbena you are referring to is Glandularia bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain), also called prairie verbena or Dakota vervain. It is native to many states, including Colorado, and adapted to higher elevations and cooler temperatures. It is a pretty drought tolerant perennial, but the ground should not be allowed to completely dry out. It has a long blooming season, and will bloom out even more in the Fall.

The first cause of your flower loss that leaps to mind is transplant shock. Even in a cooler climate like Colorado, mid-summer transplanting is hard on plants. Always trim off any dead blossoms, and certainly any leaves that appear dried up. Pruning some of the top growth at the time of transplanting to reduce stress to the plant is almost always advised. Given some recovery time, and perhaps cooler weather, it should rise and bloom again.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida

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