Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - August 04, 2009

From: Lighthouse Point, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pests
Title: Problems with iguanas in Ft. Lauderdale FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live on the intracoastal waterway near Ft. Lauderdale,FL and I am having problems with iguana. They will not eat lantana or buttercups; however is there a poisonous ground cover, preferable with flowers, that I could utilize to surround the base of my royal palm trees? Iguanas are everywhere and costing me $$$$.

ANSWER:

Okay, first we need to apologize for what we were thinking. We thought iguanas were natives of the Caribbean, South and Central America and what were they doing in Florida, anyway? Turns out they are, indeed, a very large problem in South Florida, but pretty well confined to there by the fact that they cannot withstand freezing weather. The iguanas that are terrorizing some neighborhoods are escaped or abandoned pets, and can truly be vicious and dangerous to pets and children as well as vegetation.  And we thought Florida had big problems with invasive plants, but never considered invasive lizards! Iguanas are omnivorous, eating not only plant material but also insects, occasionally small rodents, and are known to be carriers of salmonella. All very good reasons to not feed them or try to adopt them.

However, we don't recommend poisonous plants because a child or pet could just as easily come along and nibble on those plants as the iguanas. Also, we are gardeners, not zoologists, and specialize in plants native to North America and to the area in which the plants are being grown. Reptiles are way out of our line of expertise.  We know about rattlesnakes, but we try to avoid socializing with them. So, we are going to list some websites, from which we have learned a great deal, that might give you some help. 

University of Florida IFAS Extension Dealing with iguanas in the South Florida landscape

TampaBay.com Florida's iguana infestation

Green Iguana Society Feral Iguanas in Florida

Florida Museum of Natural History Study sheds light on invasive iguana's big appetite

UPI.com Man wants iguana on Florida menus

 

 

More Pests Questions

Green Ash Tree in California Dropping Seeds
July 06, 2016 - We have two large green ash trees in our front yard. 2 yrs ago, they began to lose seeds year round. When they're green and when they turn brown. I believe they may have termites or some type of in...
view the full question and answer

Food for wild rabbits in Shiro TX
July 15, 2009 - There are usually 1-2 cottontail rabbits sharing our 4 acre habitat that are suffering due to the lack of new growth caused by drought. Is there anything I can plant after this summer that would provi...
view the full question and answer

Honeybees swarming around galls on oak trees
September 28, 2015 - A large number of honeybees have descended on a live oak tree in my backyard. They appear to be feeding on the numerous galls on the tree as if they were flowers. What's going on?
view the full question and answer

Preventing Oak Galls
February 22, 2016 - How do you prevent live oak galls? Do you have a solution? Many of our live oaks are infested with them.
view the full question and answer

How to Control Pests on Plants for Sale
May 15, 2014 - I am renting a closed spot at a flea market, and am having trouble with several infestations at once, and I am not sure how to control them. I am currently having trouble with aphids, whiteflies, and ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.