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
1 rating

Wednesday - June 06, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Something eating holes in Texas Betony from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What pest is eating holes in the leaves of my Texas Betonys? They look healthy but almost all leaves have various sizes of round holes in them. What is the best cure for this? Thanks

ANSWER:

Stachys coccinea (Scarlet betony) - also Texas Betony, is one of those plants that most references regard as "pest free," or "few problems." Obviously, that is not the case with your plant. We did a little further searching with other members of the Stachys genus and discovered that some of them have problems with slugs, snails and whiteflies. For instance, here is a website on Stachys lanata (Woolly Betony) which is not native to North America but widely grown here. We doubt the pests check plants' passports before they start chewing.

If you scroll down that webpage, you will find a section on Problems - Pests: Slugs and Snails. Another reference mentioned whiteflies. Here is what the website on Wooly Betony had to say about the slugs and snails:

"Slugs and snails favor moist climates and are mollusks, not insects. They can be voracious feeders, eating just about anything that is not woody or highly scented. They may eat holes in leaves, strip entire stems, or completely devour seedlings and tender transplants, leaving behind tell-tale silvery, slimy trails.

Prevention and control: Keep your garden as clean as possible, eliminating hiding places such as leaf debris, over-turned pots, and tarps. Groundcover in shady places and heavy mulches provide protection from the elements and can be favorite hiding places. In the spring, patrol for and destroy eggs (clusters of small translucent spheres) and adults during dusk and dawn. Set out beer traps from late spring through fall."

From University of California Integrated Pest Management: Snails and Slugs.

From the same source: Whiteflies

These both seem to involve a moist environment, so be sure you are not overwatering your Texas Betony and providing a welcoming environment for the pests. According to our webpage on Stachys coccinea (Scarlet betony), the plant likes moist soil and part shade, both good environment for the pests we are discussing.

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet betony
Stachys coccinea

Scarlet betony
Stachys coccinea

Scarlet betony
Stachys coccinea

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Light requirements for Heartleaf Skullcap from Smithville TX
June 29, 2011 - How much sun or shade does Heartleaf Skullcap need?
view the full question and answer

How to use seaweed for mulch and fertilizer
September 24, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants,I live on the Peconic Bay, Greenport, Long Island. We have an oyster farm and lots of seaweed. I've read that seaweed was used on farms in the past as mulch (fertilizer?). ...
view the full question and answer

Potential allelopathy of cultivar of Artemisia ludoviciana
March 09, 2009 - I recently submitted a question regarding allelopathic potential of artemisia ludoviciana on rusty blackhaw viburnum, not specifying that I meant Vibernum rufidulum. Mr. SP interpreted my viburnum as...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for under a pine tree in Vevay IN
June 29, 2009 - At our office we have a very nice garden however, in the front we have a large pine tree. We cannot get anything to take root & live there. Do you have any suggestions for a native shrub or perennia...
view the full question and answer

Different colors of Argemone spp. from McAllen TX
March 16, 2014 - I took pictures of at least 5 colors of pricklepoppy today. Is this common to have so many colors in one area? How do I harvest the seedpods and when is the best time to do so?
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