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?


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
1 rating

Sunday - May 09, 2010

From: Taylor, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Problems with winecups in Taylor, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Taylor in Williamson County, Tx,. I have wine cups growing. They are lush and blooming, but I am now noticing what looks like spores forming under the leaves and the plants seem to be suffering from it. Do you know what this could be? Baking soda mix with liquid soap a possible remedy? This is their 2nd year in the garden. Rock on with all the help you provide gardeners!


There are 4 plants native to Central Texas with "winecup" as one of their common names. Since you mention this is the second year for your plants, we are going to say it is the perennial Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow). We are puzzled by the presence of the spots, but our webpage on this plant mentions that it is susceptible to rust during wet seasons, which we are not having right now in Central Texas but have done earlier in the year. We also noted that it must be in well-drained soil. Since it is somewhat a trailing plant, we think the moisture of the soil might be the first suspect, causing rust or perhaps a little mildew. We have also heard complaints about the numbers of snails and slugs that are around this year, also because of the moisture, but that doesn't sound like slug damage. As long as your plants appear healthy and are blooming, we wouldn't worry too much. Avoid over-watering and try to improve the air circulation around your plants, perhaps with some shredded hardwood mulch beneath the plants to get them off the soil.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery: 

Callirhoe involucrata

Callirhoe involucrata

Callirhoe involucrata

Callirhoe involucrata




More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with redbud in DeLand FL
June 15, 2011 - My native Redbud trees leaves are turning yellow and a sucker branch has died. What could it be?
view the full question and answer

Long-legged bugs eating roses in Richmond VA
May 22, 2011 - There are bugs eating my roses. What can I do? They look like long bugs with a lot of legs.
view the full question and answer

Yellowing of fronds on Sago Palm
March 27, 2007 - Our Sago Palm now has all yellow fronds from the Winter frosts. Should they be cut off? Will the plant grow new fronds from the bottom to replace the ugly looking ones that are there? And why do I se...
view the full question and answer

Insect pests in Gaillardia aristata in Tennessee
August 22, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a couple of 'Oranges and Lemons' blanketflower plants in a butterfly and hummingbird native flower garden that is the foundation planting of my house. They bloom prol...
view the full question and answer

Mutation in bluebonnets from Elgin TX
April 16, 2013 - What causes bluebonnets to mutate..grow as if three or four are combined into one flower on one very flat, wide stem. I have these in my yard; they are beautiful! I have taken several pictures.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center