En Español

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?


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
3 ratings

Sunday - March 02, 2008

From: Eaton, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Infestation of flies around euonymus in summer
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have 3 shrubs planted in my backyard. I think they are a type of euonymus (but I'm not sure). My question is why do they attract huge nasty flies. The first year we had them they didn't. But the last few years in the summer they attract tons of really big flies. Is there anything I can do about this?


Okay, first, let's make sure what plant we're talking about, as you say you are not sure if you have an euonymus. This Clemson University Extension website has an excellent description of euonymus and recommendations for its care and control of pests. On this site, mention is made of one variety called Euonymus kiautschovicus, which apparently attracts bees and flies during its blooming season in late summer. Take a look at this page of Images of Euonymus kiautschovicus and see if you recognize it as your plant. That was the only mention we found anywhere of flies being attracted to any euonymus plant. According to the USDA Plant Profile for that plant, it is found only in about 5 states, all to the east of you.

Since all of the euonymus species are natives of the Far East, although distributed widely throughout Europe and North America, they are not in our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is focused on plants native to North America. However, we do try to help gardeners with plants having problems, even when they are not native. Have you also noticed more bees around your plant when it is blooming? Since the blooms are not particularly spectacular, and if you believe that is what is attracting the flies, you might try nipping the blooms in the bud, as it were. That would be a disappointment to the bees who are also coming to your bushes, but at least they wouldn't be killed with an insecticide spray if you went that route. Pruning to eliminate the buds before they bloom would be the least expensive and least damaging to the environment, and is what we would recommend in this case. Try it for a summer, and see if it works.


More Non-Natives Questions

Proper deadheading of non-natives Arabian Jasmine and Crape myrtle from Las Vegas
July 23, 2010 - Advise please on proper deadheading of Arabian Jasmine, and of Crape Myrtle. They are both blooming great but I want to know once the petals fall should I deadhead and will it help them to bloom agai...
view the full question and answer

Lavender near Austin TX
July 10, 2011 - Are there places to view blooming lavender near Austin in July 2011?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native, invasive Japanese Privet from Peoria AZ
July 31, 2013 - I have Japanese Privit bushes. one out of 6 has started to grow very small leaves and does not look healthy. Moon Valley told me shortage of zinc, but that has not helped in 3 months. What can I ...
view the full question and answer

Planting non-native coastal bermudagrass in Portland TX
September 09, 2009 - How do you plant coastal grass?
view the full question and answer

Non-native poinsettia care
October 07, 2007 - I have a poinsettia that I have nursed from last Christmas. It is in big pot and looks really good. I'm trying to make it bloom. I have it out front with a sw exposure. I'm afraid of too much sun...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center