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

Tuesday - October 27, 2009

From: Monroe, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care for non-native Mexican ruellia in Monroe LA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dwarf Mexican Petunia I have found information that late in the season, when growth becomes leggy, cut back plants by as much as a half to force a new spurt of growth. Watch for tobacco bud worms, aphids, snails, and slugs. What is the most effective plan for controlling the above problems? I have grow beds and all my potted plants both in the hoophouses and out in the open are on black ground cover secured with six inch staples.

ANSWER:

You are really dedicated to those ruellia; we believe we just answered a question from you about holes in the leaves of your ruellia. They are, as we mentioned to you in our last answer, still not native to North America, and therefore out of our range of expertise.

In fact, the holes in the leaves that you asked about last time may very well have been caused by slugs or snails, the bane of any plant that is in moist soil and shading the ground for the beasties to hide. From The Garden Helper, we found this information on Controlling Snails and Slugs in Your Garden.

Apparently the tobacco budworm is quite a pest of geraniums and petunias, and this University of Florida Entomology Dept. website  on Tobacco Webworm has some suggestions, but no guarantees, on control. 

Aphids are really pretty easy to control-a good squirt of water or, if you are really serious, a good squirt of soapy water, will wash them off and they can't get back onto the plant. This University of California Integrated Pest Management website discusses the control of aphids in more detail.

As for trimming your plants back in the Fall; this is always a good idea with perennials. We like to leave about 6 inches of the stalk so we will know where they will begin to emerge in the Spring and not accidentally mistake them for weeds and yank them out. 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-blooming wisteria in Oklahoma
June 24, 2008 - I have a wisteria bush that doesn't bloom. It's two years old. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for constant rain
June 24, 2008 - We live in Washington State up north by Canadian border. We need a hedge that will survive the constant rain. We have tried cedar. They seem to turn brown and die,one at a time so we keep replacing th...
view the full question and answer

Non-native strawberry tree dying in Mt. View CA
August 01, 2010 - My strawberry tree has brown leaves and is dying, what can I do?
view the full question and answer

Green fruit dropping from non-native navel orange tree
September 17, 2008 - Hi, I have a seedless navel orange tree that is dropping the green fruit as of late and when I find the oranges laying there they have a large split in them that exposes the fruit. I don't think the...
view the full question and answer

Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
May 27, 2012 - In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center