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 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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
view the full question and answer

Failure to come up of blackeyed susans in Lancaster PA
June 28, 2009 - My blackeyed susans have been blooming for ten years. All of a sudden this year they didn't come up at all..why?
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade, poor soil in Park Ridge NJ
June 17, 2010 - Hello! I live in far northeast New Jersey, by the New York state border. I am looking for plants for areas of my lawn that nothing currently grows in - due to shade and poor soil quality - very rocky,...
view the full question and answer

Browning of leaf tops on Iris plants
April 22, 2008 - My Iris plants bloomed beautifully, now some of the leaves are turning brown from the top down, about half way. Is this normal? What can I do about it and should I cut off the brown leaves? Also, what...
view the full question and answer

Standing Cypress Plants in San Antonio, TX
June 26, 2013 - I purchased seeds for standing cypress 2 years ago and this spring they look beautiful. What is the best way to harvest the seeds? Also, will the current plants come back next spring or will I have to...
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