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 14, 2013

From: Eastpointe, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Are non-native hostas causing fly invasion from Eastpointe MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Michigan with a small backyard. I have 5 large hostas with the purple flower blooms which are located by my patio. I was wondering if they can be causing my large population of unwanted flies? Any advice would be helpful.

ANSWER:

From Wikipedia: "Hosta is a genus of about 23–45 species of plants commonly known as hostas, plantain lilies (particularly in Britain) and occasionally by the Japanese name giboshi. Hostas are widely cultivated as shade-tolerant foliage plants. The genus is currently placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae,  and is native to northeast Asia."

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they evolved; in your case, Macomb County, in southeast Michigan.

Therefore, this plant is out of our area of expertise, but we can at least address your question as to whether they are attracting flies. All we could learn was that the only insects the hostas attracted were snails and slugs. There is a native member of the group called "carrion flowers" - Lysichiton americanus (American skunkcabbage). They smell like rotting meat and thus draw in the flies that happen to be the pollinators of the plant.

However, we found no indication that the genus Hosta smells that way nor that it is pollinated by flies. It is more likely the too-fresh manure in some recently-installed fertilizer or a small dead animal in your garden is what is attracting flies.

 

 

 

More Pests Questions

Sap dripping from redbud in Bertram, TX
March 03, 2014 - Our multi-trunked Texas redbud has sap dripping down 3 of the trunks. It seems to originate from a very small crack in each trunk. The tree is just starting to show pink this week, and is about to blo...
view the full question and answer

What causes rock rose branches to snap off?
August 30, 2013 - my small texas rock rose branches keep snapping in the center. What is causing this and what can I do?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Arizona Ash from Naco AZ
May 19, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty.. Live in southeast corner of Az. My Az. Ash is diseased. Just noticed leaves are curled, (still green) and when I open the leaf it has a zillion little white, what look like mites ...
view the full question and answer

Discouraging Poison Ivy
June 27, 2015 - Is there a fern that discourages poison ivy from growing?
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

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