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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 17, 2009

From: Sun City Center, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Native firebush dying in Sun City Center FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a native firebush, it is suddenly dying branch by branch, from the inside out, I have noticed odd things look like wasps but with speckled wings on it. What could be killing it. The inside branches that are being attacked look wilted for a few days, then they start to die, please help.

ANSWER:

Hamelia patens (scarletbush) is a native of Central and South Florida, so you're right on the spot there. The resources we looked at all said it had "no significant pests or diseases" but that doesn't help you much, does it? We did some research on some flying insects that were a possibility. We found websites on each of the insect pests that might like the firebush, and we suggest you look at the pictures, compare them with the insects you have seen flying and check suggested treatments.

Colorado State Extension website on spider mites

University of California Integrated Pest Management thrips

University of California Integrated Pest Management whiteflies

University of California Integrated Pest Management aphids

In all honesty, we have no idea if any or some of these might be the problem. You didn't say how old the firebush is, and we're wondering if some change in the environment might have caused this loss of leaves and branches. Not being entomologists, and unable to make any diagnosis from a distance, we would like to refer you to the University of Florida Extension Home Gardening Section for Hillsborough County Florida. If there is some pest invading your garden, it is invading other gardens, too, and the Extension office should be the place that knows about that. There is contact information on the website, and they may have a ready answer for you. 

Pictures of Hamelia patens (scarletbush)

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Spots on just-emerging Zexmenia in Austin
April 02, 2010 - My zexmenia is just coming up from the ground after a cold winter in Austin. The leaves are all spotted with tiny holes as if something is munching on them before they even leave the ground or just as...
view the full question and answer

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Cottony infestation on Turk's Cap in Austin
July 05, 2010 - The Turks Cap in my front planter is well-established and, overall, happy and blooming. However, some of the top leaves, those in the most shaded area, have what looks like a thin, loose layer of cot...
view the full question and answer

Soapberry Transplant shock symptoms
July 21, 2006 - Please suggest a cause & cure for general yellowing of the leaves of Western Soapberry when planted in the ground 20 miles NW of Austin (thin, poor clay over limestone). Trees still in containers are...
view the full question and answer

Failing to thrive of non-native rose bushes in Austin
September 24, 2012 - I live in NW Austin and I have lost one knockout rose bush this summer and it looks like another one is failing. The leaves on a cane turn yellow then brown. I do not see whiteflies or black spots o...
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