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?


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

Saturday - January 29, 2011

From: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Black fungus on non-native ixora from Palm Beach Gardens FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have 7-8 ixora plants that are side by side and all have developed a black fungus or substance on them. The substance is not only on the plant, but has spread to the wall they are adjacent to. Can these plants be salvaged?


Ixora coccinea is native to tropical Southeast Asia, including India and Sri Lanka, and is therefore out of our range of expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown. This Floridata article will give you more information, but does not mention a disease such as you have described.

This sounds like a sooty mold, which can often be caused by mold growing on the honeydew exuded by aphids. However, we are not sure if that mold would spread to a wall. This article Floridaplants.com has information on pests and diseases of Ixora coccinea. Of special interest in your situation is this excerpt:

"Insects and Diseases - This plant is subject to nematodes and should be mulched heavily. It is also attacked by aphids, mites and scale, which cause sooty mold."

If the plant, and especially the wall behind it, are not getting enough sun, the possibility of a mold gets higher. We suggest you examine the plant for aphids, and go from there. Please read this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer which points out that the honeydew and the resultant sooty mold can spread to surfaces around the infested plant.






More Non-Natives Questions

Plants not native to North America in Hawaii
February 18, 2009 - Do not know if you have any experience for Hawaii but here it goes. I live on Maui and have some coco palms, a line of 12, two of them right next to each other (15-20 ft). They are a decent shade of ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on fungal attack
October 12, 2005 - I have three plants that have been getting fungus on their soil and I've tried to get rid of it by scraping it off, watering it less and more sunlight. It's two coleus and a begonia. I don't know...
view the full question and answer

Problem with acanthus in Vancouver BC
May 16, 2010 - My girlfriend's Mom just planted an Acanthus in her garden. In the morning, it apparently stands up tall, but in the evening it bends over until the the leaves are lying in the dirt. She's concerned...
view the full question and answer

Growth rate for eucalyptus in Florida
September 21, 2006 - How fast does eucalyptus grow in Florida?
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native ice plant in Virginia
October 12, 2008 - Regarding the ice plant in Virginia - do you cut it back or just trim or just leave it alone before winter?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center