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
1 rating

Monday - July 06, 2009

From: Lake Ronkonkoma, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Propagation, Transplants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Dividing blackeyed susans in Lake Ronkoko NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How are you supposed to divide blackeyed susan's? And when is the best time to do this?

ANSWER:

The only plant we found with the common name "Blackeyed Susan" native to New York is Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (blackeyed Susan). According to the information in our Native Plant Database, this is a biennial, which may perennialize if it's happy where it is. So, we're going to go on the assumption that your plants are happy, and suggest you divide them in early fall in your climate, preferably after the first cool nights, but when the soil is still warm. The plant will be going into dormancy then and won't be quite so subject to transplant shock. You can spend some time between now and then preparing their new home, possibly adding some compost and working it in to improve drainage and to help make trace nutrients in the soil more available to new roots. 

We found an excellent website by Fine Gardening, 10 Tips on Dividing Perennials, which gives you information in a much more organized form than we could. 


Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Virginia wild strawberry plants for New Hampshire or Massachusetts
February 25, 2009 - Where can I find Virginia wild strawberry plants or seeds for my garden and will they grow up north in New Hampshire or Massachusetts?
view the full question and answer

Gardening book for beginner gardener
December 06, 2008 - What is a good gardening book for a beginner gardener who lives in Round Rock. Would like info for both vegetables and plants for landscaping. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Sprouts from stems of plants from Happy Yard IN
September 28, 2013 - Is it normal for a plant to start a sprout from its own root system next to the stock/stem? Is it trying to regrow?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Turks Cap, when and how
September 10, 2007 - Mr. Smarty Pants - We have an enormous healthy Turk's Cap - not the lily, but the one with red flowers(Malvaviscus arboreus v. drummondii) It has also produced a new plant nearby. Please tell us how...
view the full question and answer

Pink lady slipper orchids in Maine
May 24, 2009 - Hi, I have moved to Maine from Virginia--it's a new world of plants!!Exciting!! I have found 2 pink lady slippers on our property. What can I do to encourage them to multiply? I know some wild flowe...
view the full question and answer

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