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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - July 02, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Mystery pest eating portulaca blooms
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm from Texas and I purchased some portulaca from a local nursery about three weeks ago and planted them in the front yard....with plenty of sun. Here's the problem. The foliage seems very healthy, nice and green and full. Almost each plants seems to have a few flowers every morning and they open up well, but by the next morning the flowers are completely gone. I don't mean they've closed up; it looks as though all the flowers have been just snipped off. I don't think that they're being eaten by animals and I don't see any evidence of insects eating them. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Certainly, Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) and other Portulaca spp. (e.g., Moss rose, Portulaca grandiflora) are edible and it sounds as if something is eating your Portulaca. Squirrels are a likely suspect, but I wouldn't rule out mice and rats, as well. Desert tortoises and land iguanas are known to eat Portulaca, too, but I think we can be pretty certain that those aren't your culprits. It is reported to be a favorite of deer which could be the culprit in some parts of Austin. However, I suspect the deer would go after all the plant, not just the flowers. I think most likely it is one of the small rodents named above.
 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Black growth on sotol plants
June 08, 2008 - My mature sotol plants have a black-like growth on the leaves. Is there any thing I can do to treat what looks like a disease on these plants?
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to Mexican olive in Austin
December 13, 2009 - I have a Mexican Olive tree/bush. It is young - about 8 ft. tall. This last freeze in Austin made many of its leaves turn black. I got this from your database: "Its native range extends no farther...
view the full question and answer

Brown spots in St. Augustine grass
July 05, 2008 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My husband and I are in the Air Force and were recently moved to Cibolo Texas. We built a home and hired a landscaper to finish the yard May 07 (with irrigation system). We laid d...
view the full question and answer

My Mock Orange fails to flower in Redmond, WA.
July 06, 2011 - I planted a Mock Orange shrub about 5 years ago. The first few years, it only produced leaves but no blossoms. Then, last year, it finally produced 4-5 blossoms on 2 of the branches. This year, it a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Thuja in Oakland CA
December 16, 2010 - I have a Thuja hedge about 100' long. Part of this hedge and a well established Rhododendron have been diagnosed with Armillaria mellea that is spreading. I see the bunches of mushrooms growing eve...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center