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?

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
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

Thursday - June 30, 2011

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pests, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this particular plant. I took some front and back photos to show you if that would help.

ANSWER:

Sorry, we do not have the computer infrastructure to accept photographs, nor do we have any plant named just "Bee Balm" in our Native Plant Database. There are a number of species of the genus Monarda that have a common name of beebalm.  The 'Jacob Cline' you refer to is no doubt a trade name, but is the native Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm. It has been selected for darker reds, which also are thought to be more mildew resistant. The funny thing is, although this is bee balm, bees are slow to get to it, because they don't see the color red. The butterflies see red just fine, clustering around the fragrant plant, and the bees find it soon enough.

Monarda is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, so we are looking for pests of mint. As to what is eating your beebalm, the main problem we found was mildew, but that just turns the leaves and blossoms dark, no eating involved. We found papers from universities on some of the insect pests, and will link you to them. We urge you not to use any poison sprays, but treat with sprays of water or even soapy water, in order to not also kill the beneficial insects that visit your monarda, like butterflies, ladybugs and bees.

Monarda Plant Health Problems from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Mint Flea Beetles from Oregon State University

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

More Wildflowers Questions

Planting wildflowers from Wichita Falls, TX
August 24, 2013 - Hi, Thanks so much for the answers you give! You've been very helpful to me in the past. I have two quick questions: 1) I have been harvesting seeds from my wildflowers. I wonder when the best time...
view the full question and answer

What to plant in northern Virginia
October 20, 2004 - We have recently purchased 10 acres in Northern Virginia, and would like to plant native wildflowers on 4 of the acres. The soil has a high clay content and is currently covered in a mixture of grasse...
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Iris native to Louisiana
May 19, 2005 - A friend of mine has discovered white iris growing alongside of a swampy habitat in southeast Louisiana where there are blue, yellow and copper/red irises. We presume it is wild because it is in a na...
view the full question and answer

Illegal to pick roadside wildflowers from Vilonia AR
May 11, 2013 - Is it illegal to pick roadside wildflowers in Arkansas?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center