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

Monday - May 26, 2008

From: Lakeland, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Asclepias with whitish discoloration
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have red/scarlett milkweed planted in my yard. The leaves have a whitish discoloration on the top of some of the leaves and it is spreading. What is it? What do I do about it?

ANSWER:

We first wanted to establish what a red/scarlet milkweed is, and found these two species of Asclepias in our Native Plant Database. Both are native to North America and Florida and, therefore, fall into our field of interests at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Asclepias lanceolata (fewflower milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

It's possible you have a cultivar, or cultivated variety, of hybridized milkweeds, but they would probably be prone to the same pests and diseases. So, next, since no immediate answer to your question springs to our mind, we need to go looking for what might be causing the discoloration. We will find websites with pictures of some of the possibilities, and you can compare them with your plants. Then, if you find what you think is the pest involved, the website should have suggested treatments.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Mealybugs. These are tiny white fluffy insects.

University of Florida Extension, Scale Insects and Mealybugs on Ornamental Plants.

University of California Integrated Pest Management, Pests in Gardens and Landscapes - Aphids.

Colorado State University Extension, Spider Mites.

University of Minnesota Extension, Southern Blight - Sclerotium rolfsii

Generally, Asclepias species are considered fairly pest-free. If none of the above possibilities seem to match the symptoms on your plants, contact the University of Florida Polk County Extension Office - Lawn and Garden. They should have more localized information on newly discovered pests and the control for them.


Asclepias lanceolata

Asclepias lanceolata

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa

 

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Is straggler daisy deer resistant from Austin
October 08, 2012 - Is straggler daisy (horseherb) deer resistant? We have lots of deer in our NW Hills, Austin neighborhood, and a lot of shade where not much will grow. Is that plant a good candidate for ground cover...
view the full question and answer

Strappy leaves on rudbeckias from Houston
October 31, 2013 - My Rudbeckias keep sending up odd shoots with strappy leaves on them. Should these be cut off? What is their purpose?
view the full question and answer

Identity of a yellow-flowered wildflower with prickly burs
May 20, 2013 - Hi there. We have seen a wildflower, probably invasive, that is at least in Travis, Williamson, and Hays counties. We have tried to identify it without success, The structure of the plant is remark...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under Juniper for San Antonio
September 14, 2012 - I have a shaded area under juniper in the Hill Country of Texas that has many sprouts from the tree. We have to weed whack it to keep them under control. What ground cover could I use to enhance tha...
view the full question and answer

Native Plant for Containers in Delaware
June 23, 2015 - I live on the East Coast. I have a large covered porch that only gets some afternoon sun. I have tried full sun, partial sun and shade plants, and had no luck with them thriving. Can you recommend any...
view the full question and answer

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