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
2 ratings

Friday - May 27, 2011

From: Dublin, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pests
Title: Black bugs on Autumn Joy sedum in Dublin OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford


How to get rid of tiny black bugs on Autumn Joy sedum?


We always like to start out knowing what kind of plant we are talking about. In our Native Plant Database there are 18 species of the genus sedum but only one of them, Sedum ternatum (Wild stonecrop) is native to Ohio. This really doesn't matter, as we already knew that 'Autumn Joy' is a selection of some native sedum, or possibly a hybrid of Sedum telephium. They are all members of the Crassulaceae (Stonecrop) family, and have pretty similar growing conditions and pest problems. We had a little trouble finding any information admitting that sedums HAD problems with insects, but these two articles give us some clues.

From Washington State University Extension for Whatcom County Stonecrop - says few pests bother with sedums, although slugs will sometimes take a bite. That is not surprising in view of the fact that the sedum characteristically grows near the ground, where the slugs are grocery shopping.

eHow Home Sedum Plant Pests - concedes that there are several bugs that will damage sedum, but the two it mentions that are good possibilities are aphids (they attack everything), and fungus gnats. Because you specifically mentioned tiny black bugs, we're thinking that might win the prize. The fungus gnats actually originate in damp soil around the plant, and this article mentions a couple of ways to deal with it.

Since the fungus gnat became our likeliest suspect, we found another article All About Fungus Gnats which suggests, among other things, letting the soil dry out before you water it again.



More Pests Questions

Bugs on Arizona Cypress in Bellwood IL
August 27, 2011 - I live in Illinois and have an Arizona Cypress that looks like it is dying but I notice today it has bugs inside its cone. Can you tell me why and what can I do?
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars devouring Blue Wild Indigo in Jesup GA
September 05, 2011 - I have a false blue indigo growing in my garden. Every spring it gets defoliated by Genista moth caterpillars. It usually doesn't put out new growth until the next spring. This summer, it has put ...
view the full question and answer

Preventing weeds in kinnikinnick in Richland WA
May 29, 2011 - We planted our kinnickinick last Nov. and we live in Richland, WA, where it gets hot in the summer. We planted almost 500 of them on a hillside. Weeding is taking over our lives, to say the least. ...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming toad lily in Kentucky
April 20, 2008 - I have had a toad lily for three years and it has never bloomed. What do I need to do?
view the full question and answer

Worms in non-native snake plant from Hillsborough NC
September 17, 2011 - I purchased a snake plant this summer for my screened in porch. I did not repot it and left it in the plastic pot in came it. I was about to repot the plant to bring it in and noticed there are worm...
view the full question and answer

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