Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Tuesday - August 26, 2008

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Watering, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Leaf browning on blackfoot daisy in Arizona
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Blackfoot daisy plant was doing great; then, in one day, it turned brown like it had no water. Have a watering system in place which waters once a day for one hour 1/2 gallon a hour.

ANSWER:

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) is a low water usage perennial, heat and drought tolerant. One-half gallon of water a day, every day, sounds like overkill, or overwater, as it were. Good drainage is essential for this plant. If, when you water, water remains on the surface for a half hour or more, your drainage is poor, possibly because of clay soil. It's very possible that the roots of the blackfoot simply are drowning. Try these suggestions: First, trim off the brown upper portion of the plant, leaving any green leaves for nutrition. Then, put a good organic mulch on the ground, preferably compost or shredded bark. This will both add texture and improve drainage in the soil, and protect the roots from the heat. Moderate the watering to every other day, preferably not overhead watering, but a gentle soaking. Don't fertilize, you should never fertilize a plant under stress. Since this plant is a sturdy native perennial, even if it doesn't bloom again this year, it might come back strong in the Spring.


Melampodium leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Maintenance of Bicolor Sage in Austin
February 05, 2009 - I had quite a bit of Bicolor Sage planted when my yard was landscaped. I am now wondering on the proper plant maintenance. Do I prune back and if so, how much and when do I prune?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Center work on non-native, invasive Bastard Cabbage from Austin
March 20, 2014 - Still have cabbage weeds that infiltrated Austin awhile back. How did Wildflower Center resolve it?
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in Pittsburgh PA
April 25, 2013 - I have a similar question to one from SC. I live in Pittsburgh, PA. We have a steep slope behind a newly built in pool. What type of plants can I put on the hillside to hold the soil. It gets a ...
view the full question and answer

Should Rock Harlequin stay green all winter?
May 28, 2014 - I have a rock harlequin that came up in a area that had been disturbed. It came up last summer/fall and the foliage survived our tough winter. I can not find anything about this plant staying green al...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a drainage easement in central Texas
September 29, 2008 - I have a 1/3 acre of drainage easement behind my home. I would like to cover it with wildflowers. It is only wet during or shortly after a rain and otherwise does not have water. I have channelled ...
view the full question and answer

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