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?

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

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
3 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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

Landscaping for slope in Kansas City
October 08, 2008 - We have a down sloping back yard and patio on the lower area. We need some water absorbing plants near the foundation and some in the front of the house, where water isn't a problem. We are allergic ...
view the full question and answer

Reaction to something in the garden from Dowling MI
May 25, 2012 - In late March I was working in my yard raking etc. The next morning I had three black spots between my knee and shin that were swelling and feverish. Two days later the areas became bigger and began...
view the full question and answer

Possible freeze damage in Wax Myrtle from last winter in Bastrop, TX
July 25, 2011 - Our Wax Myrtle is about 7 yrs old and in good shape until this past winter when we had several very hard freezes. Now several of the large branches are dead and more are dying each month. We have not ...
view the full question and answer

Worms on blackeyed susans and daisies in Tuckerton NJ
July 30, 2009 - I have black eyed susans and white daisies planted together. Not sure if this makes a difference. Today I noticed that there are tiny worms on both the plants they are almost the size of silk worms. ...
view the full question and answer

Insect damage to Meyer lemon in Texas
February 19, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a Meyer Lemon tree in Galveston. It produced a lot of lemons. However, something has bit up to quarter sized holes from the side edges of the leaf. Could you please...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center