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

Milkweed and non-native goatweed in Austin
May 28, 2011 - Which parks or fields can we find many milkweed and goatweed in Austin, TX? I live in Austin, TX 78757.
view the full question and answer

Growing conditions for non-native Thlaspi caerulescens
June 19, 2007 - I want to know what is the best condition for growing Thlaspi caerulescens and what is its life span. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Is a mulberry tree undesirable?
June 27, 2013 - I have a hard time keeping plants alive, so I was happy when a random plant just started growing and thriving about 5 years ago in my yard. My mom (a frequent volunteer at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildf...
view the full question and answer

Planting non-native sago palm and philodendron from Pflugerville TX
September 15, 2012 - I have a small/young sago palm and philodendron I'd like to plant. Do you advise to plant them now with fall/winter approaching or wait until next spring.
view the full question and answer

Kousa Dogwood Fruit Toxic to Dogs?
October 14, 2014 - Are Kousa dogwood berries toxic to dogs?
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center