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
1 rating

Wednesday - August 10, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests
Title: Hibiscus plants being attacked by powdery mildew, or maybe mealy bugs in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have three hibiscus plants planted outside about a foot apart from each other. The one that gets most of the sunlight is the worse off of the three. However, all three of them have white powdery stuff on them that is killing them slowly. I have researched on the internet what this might be but nothing looks the similar to what mine has. They almost look like white pill bugs. When I touch the plant they usually fall off. I have also found some on my house around the plants. Please help. How can I get rid of this stuff and save my plants?

ANSWER:

When Mr. Smarty Plants hears about white powdery stuff on plants he thinks of powdery mildew, but since you mentioned the white bugs, he thinks its probably mealy bugs.

I’m going to provide you with several links that describe the pests, and tell how to control them.

Mealy Bugs
  Tropical Plants Library on Line - describes  several insect pests and means to control them.

  ehow.com Home - tells how to get rid of mealy bugs

  University of Florida IFAS Extension - more information about scale insects and mealy bugs

Powdery Mildew
  University of Ohio -good description with photos

  University of California -good description of the problem with solutions

 

More Pests Questions

Organic means for ridding garden of stinging ants
April 18, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a butterfly garden that is filled with native plants the butterflies LOVE! However I have a colony of red ants that have moved in. I need to trim some of the more inva...
view the full question and answer

Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain ...
view the full question and answer

Sticky film on oak tree leaves from Whitney TX
September 04, 2012 - What is the sticky film that is coating leaves on our oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Problems with beheaded non-native Gerbera daisies in Cooperstown, NY
May 31, 2009 - I planted my gerberas in my perennial bed - as usual. Something is beheading them and leaving the blooms along side the plant. Some of the bloom is eaten but most of it is right there. I have t...
view the full question and answer

Lace Bugs on Lantana
August 06, 2015 - All my lantana bushes are suffering from severe lace bug infestation. The lace bugs have been seen via microscope as well exoskeletons and poop. The buds are destroyed and I have no flowers for hummin...
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