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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Wednesday - December 24, 2014

From: Raleigh, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with Purple Heart in Raleigh, NC
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I was hoping you could help me with an indoor/outdoor houseplant issue. I have a purple heart, that lives outside in the summers and indoors in the winters. I brought it in a few weeks ago and am noticing large gray raised circles on his leaves, too large to be scale. It's causing the leaves to wilt and it starts with the leaves closest to the roots and moves outward. I can't identify the issue and don't know how to treat it. Thus far the internet has been no help in identification of the disease. I've had this particular plant for about 4 years, and I really don't want to lose it.

ANSWER:

Purple Heart is a common name of the plant Setcreasea pallida. It is a native to Mexico , and considered by some to be invasive. It is also known as Tradescantia pallida. Click here  for more info.

It is almost impossible to diagnose plant diseases from a written description, so I’m going to recommend that you contact the Wake County office of NC Cooperative Extension to find a knowledgeable person who can take a look at your Purple Heart and diagnose the problem.

 

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