Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

A year and a half old live oak tree is doing poorly in Nevada, TX.
May 08, 2012 - We planted a live oak tree about a year and a half ago. the tree is still rather small. The leaves are of a vibrant green, however the leave have only grown through the center of the tree and not out...
view the full question and answer

Oak tree with browning leaves in Brenham TX
August 16, 2011 - I have a large oak tree in my small back yard. I also have a sprinkler so the tree has been receiving some water. Nevertheless, some of the leaves are turning brown in patches. Would drip watering ...
view the full question and answer

Acid rain in Ft. Worth?
August 19, 2010 - ALERT. NEED IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. Why are so many trees, plants, etc. in the Fort Worth area dying?? I heard acid rain. Please don't say drought. I have lived in this area all my life and survived t...
view the full question and answer

White fungus-like growths on plants from Stephenville TX
May 25, 2013 - What is a white fungus-like growth on plants in a garden? It can be seen on the ground in ball-like shapes similar to puff balls or on plants
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves
May 06, 2008 - What causes yellowing of native garden plant leaves?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.