En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Sunday - April 27, 2008

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problem with Eupatorium greggii
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

At the Garden's fall plant sale in 2006, I bought some Eupatorium greggii. It did very well last year. Recently, the entire plant looks like it is just wilting from the top down, as if it has some sort of disease. Moisture is not the problem. The Conoclinium greggii I have elsewhere does not seem to be affected. Do you have any idea if this plant is prone to a virus? Any other ideas?

ANSWER:

Eupatorium greggii is now considered a synonym for Conoclinium greggii (palmleaf thoroughwort), which explains why we couldn't find Eupatorium greggii in the Native Plant Database. Beyond that, however, we are still very puzzled as to what could be causing your plant to decline. Have you checked for red spider mites or whiteflies? Try tapping an affected leaf over a sheet of white paper-if you get little red spots, that's red spider mites. If you see what looks like flying dandruff, that is whiteflies. Honeydew excreted by whiteflies glaze both upper and lower leaf surfaces, causing the development of black sooty mold fungus. Just about every reference we checked referred to Conoclinium greggii (palmleaf thoroughwort) as almost pest and disease free, but you may have gotten caught in the "almost." The only other possibility we could think of is that this plant needs afternoon shade, and if it is in full sun all day, it will need additional water. These are very sturdy plants, and spread by rhizomes, which sometimes makes them almost a nuisance, but they are wonderful for butterflies. We would suggest that, if you feel the insects mentioned are the culprits, that you first trim out all the affected foliage, and dispose of it where the insects living on it will not be transported to other plants. Then try a weak solution of Safer insecticidal soap, sprayed on it two or three times in a week, because of the various stages of development the whitefly goes through. The main point is to prevent the spread of these insects to other plants in your garden, so you'll need to keep a watch out for that.

 

More Pests Questions

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Insect infestation, identification and treatment
April 21, 2008 - help! I have an infestation of small flies in my flower/vegetable beds. They seem to be eating the leaves of just about everything. I've tried to find out exactly what they are, but haven't had any ...
view the full question and answer

Insects on non-native euonymus in Lake Orion MI
June 23, 2010 - I had a greenlane euonymus that had a few flies last year but was infested with thousands this year. We ripped it out, it was an 8 year old plant. Do you know why they are attracted to it now?
view the full question and answer

Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain ...
view the full question and answer

Weird growth on oaks in Middleburg FL
February 05, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants; I have this plant/fungus that grows on my trees here in northeast Florida & nobody has been able to identify it for me. It looks like a clump of pine needles growing on the ba...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center