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?

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
2 ratings

Wednesday - August 06, 2008

From: Port Monmouth, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pests, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Bugs on yucca plant in New Jersey
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I noticed small bugs ALL OVER 4 established yucca plants all near each other. They may look like Halticotoma valida but I'm not positive. There is no brown on the leaves except for the large amounts of bugs scurrying about but the leaves are no longer fully green or straight up. The leaves seem very muted in color and they seem to be wilting more and more. HELP!! How do I get rid of them before they kill my plants?

ANSWER:

We're still trying to get our minds around there being yucca in New Jersey. There are 28 plants that either are yuccas or have "yucca" in their names in our Native Plant Database. As we went through trying to find a likely candidate, we found that most of them listed their native habitat as Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Finally, we found one, Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) that is known to grow in New Jersey. There is also Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca) but it didn't appear to be growing anywhere outside the desert Southwest, either. Do you know which yucca you have?

The Floral Genome Project Yucca filamentosa has some general information on this plant. Nearly every website we visited on yucca assured us that there were no significant pests or diseases of the yucca if its cultural requirements were met. However, we did at last find a site that admitted they might have infestations of Halticotoma valida. See if the images on the referenced site match the bugs you are talking about. We also found several references to mealybugs as being a nuisance to yuccas. This eHow site gives you complete instructions on How to Control Mealybugs. Here is a page of Images of mealybugs. And, finally, here is a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website on the Plant Health Problems of Yucca . The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center neither recommends for nor against pesticides, but these sites have suggestions for the specific bugs in question. Always read directions carefully and follow them to the letter when applying pesticides.

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Transplanting young Nolina texana plants
August 05, 2011 - Mr. SP, I am looking for information relating to transplanting some young Nolina texana. Esp. the best time of the year and whether to replant directly in the ground or .. Thanks,
view the full question and answer

Worms in non-native snake plant from Hillsborough NC
September 17, 2011 - I purchased a snake plant this summer for my screened in porch. I did not repot it and left it in the plastic pot in came it. I was about to repot the plant to bring it in and noticed there are worm...
view the full question and answer

Agave in a vase of water in Tacoma WA
July 19, 2009 - I have a agave plant that is in a vase of water only. It was given to me about 3 years ago, still growing but rotting inside of the water. Is it suppose to be in dirt? How to I transfer into a pot ...
view the full question and answer

Will the blooming stalk of my century plant eventually tip over? Yes
June 24, 2009 - I have a century plant in bloom. Will the stalk eventually tip over? Would appreciate any Internet references on the subject.
view the full question and answer

Shriveling agave from Miami Florida
August 23, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Most upset - My beautiful agave (wish I could have submitted an image) has stared to misbehave. The once first liquid filled leaves, are starting to look more like the skin ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center