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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 31, 2011

From: Carson, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Pests
Title: Snails in the ice plants in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Ice plants and snails. Every morning when I go outside I see at least 20 or more snails. Is there a certain way that I should have planted them that would have prevented them from destroying my plant? Or is it automatic that they will come because these types of plants attract snails?


It is true that snails like and eat the non-native ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis), an invasive species from South Africa.  Mr. Smarty Plants' first reaction is to let them eat them all up since they are invasive!   But, then you no doubt like your ice plants and the snails are probably eating more desirable plants as well.  You did nothing wrong in the way you planted them to cause the snails to like them—they just like them!   However, with a little effort, you can control the snails.  There are several methods that you can use in conjunction with each other to do the best job of controlling them.  You can hand pick them, catch them in simple traps baited with beer or with yeast and water, or create barriers around areas containing your plants.  A combination of methods will give you the best success.  Visit the University of California Integrated Pest Management page to learn about snails and the various ways to manage them.


More Pests Questions

Pest damage to Yaupon shrubs in Austin, TX
September 18, 2011 - I have noticed pest damage in our 4 ft. yaupon. There are circular holes eaten on 90% of the leaf growth. Trunk & branches look untouched and healthy. Could this be leafminers? How can I care for it?...
view the full question and answer

How to Control Pests on Plants for Sale
May 15, 2014 - I am renting a closed spot at a flea market, and am having trouble with several infestations at once, and I am not sure how to control them. I am currently having trouble with aphids, whiteflies, and ...
view the full question and answer

Flying insects eating leaves of non-native Brugmansia in Aline CA
October 17, 2013 - I have an Angel Trumpet tree. We live in Aline, California 30 miles east of San Diego. Little yellow and black flying bugs eat the leaves. Do you have a remedy for this problem.
view the full question and answer

Why are the eastern red cedars in Bastrop/Travis County turning brown?
May 11, 2009 - I live on the Bastrop/Travis county, TX line and have many eastern red cedars on my property. About 10 of them are dying and it has happened quickly with the onset of the warmer weather. I noticed d...
view the full question and answer

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

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