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
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

Landscaping for property in Oaxaca Mexico
January 17, 2011 - I don't know if you can help me with this. I am building a house in Oaxaca Mexico, and I want to use native plants in the landscape. We are on the coast where it stays warm all the time. Do you kn...
view the full question and answer

Locations where non-native Mimosa trees grow
May 23, 2005 - Where do mimos trees grow?
view the full question and answer

Plants for church gardens in Ft. Worth TX
November 07, 2013 - Second attempt. Our church has many gardens in Fort Worth, TX. There are gardens for blue,red,yellow,white,purple,orange,pink,mixed,community garden,roses, and more. I am interested in the la...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in non-native crape myrtle from Wesley Chapel, FL
June 12, 2012 - I just bought a 12 ft. crape myrtle and planted it, giving it plenty of water I think. After 3 days the leaves are wilting and flowers are falling off.
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of non-native Buddleja davidii
June 30, 2008 - I love butterfly bushes - but have bad luck growing them. I now have several, including Butterfly Nanho Purple; and they constantly wilt. It has been a dry hot Austin summer, but should I water when...
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