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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 12, 2010

From: Mountlake Terrace, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Leaves turning brown on geum in Mountlake Terrace WA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Assuming a geum is North American . . . mine are turning brown unlike any time before. They get watered occasionally and then dry out. Is there something special I should be doing for geums? They get full sun except late afternoon sun.

ANSWER:

There are 15 species of the genus geum native to North America, of which 7 are native to Washington State. Snohomish County is in northwest Washington and Mountlake Terrace in the southwest corner of the county, in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b. We first checked the USDA Plant Profiles to determine which geum was native to that area in an attempt to identify your plant. Geum macrophyllum (largeleaf avens) grows over most of Washington State, including your area.  According to our website page on this plant, it requires shade, which we consider to be 2 hours or less of sun a day, so that is probably the main problem your plant is having. This website from the Washington Native Plant Society says it grows in meadows, moist woods and streambanks from low to middle elevations. It would appear that the environment in which your avens is growing is probably to blame.

Pictures of Geum macrophyllum from Google. 

 

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