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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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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!

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Wednesday - July 22, 2009

From: Winston-Salem, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: Can I Divide Rudbeckia in July in NC.
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

How do I transplant Blackeyed Susans so I can add them to other parts of the bed. I started with one and it is crowding out other plants, so I would like to transplant to other parts of the yard.

ANSWER:

It is too late in the season to divide and transplant perennials now.  Many perennials can be divided in the spring or fall but others have a preference. Rudbeckia preferes to be divided in the spring.  Because Black eyed Susan's seed heads add such great fall and winter interest in the garden in a place where they are not covered up with snow, you will want to wait until spring anyhow.

They are quite easy to divide and you will be blessed with Rudbeckia for the rest of your days.  When it is time to divide them, digging up the whole plant, splitting it and re-planting is the best method as it rejuvenates the plant and gives you the opportunity to pick out any weeds or grass that have managed to get established in the center.  Alternatively, just dig out the plants around the outside, tranpslant them and leave the center.  Many perennials, however, eventually get so crowded at the center that it dies, leaving a circle of younger plants.

Once you have the clump dug out it will be easy to pry the plants apart from one another with your fingers or a hand tool.

A great reference book (with instructions on pictures) for  all sorts of propogation is Ken Druse's "Making more Plants: The Science, Art, and Joy of Propagation".

 

 

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