Contact Us Host an Event 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

Tuesday - May 19, 2009

From: Denton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native impatiens in Denton, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, 4 weeks ago I planted a shady bed (2'x10') with impatiens for the third year in-a-row. Previously, the plants thrived & bloomed till November. Three weeks ago, something that looked like a thin layer of white salt appeared on the leaves and stems of 2 of the plants. We've had, at least, 2-3 days of rain a week since then. After each rain, the "salt" appeared on another 2-3 plants and now has spread the length of the bed, including on my large purple wandering jew (and on the leaf mulch surrounding the plants). After the "salt" is wet it looks like brown sand with 2 tiny "antennae." It doesn't cover each plant, just about a third, and, so far, hasn't affected blooming or growth. I am most concerned about it spreading to the rest of my garden, separated by a 2' sidewalk.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Since Impatiens wallerana is native to Africa, from Tanzania to Mozambique, it will not appear in our Native Plant Database. We found an excellent website from the University of California Integrated Pest Management site on Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Impatiens wallerana. On the upper right hand side of this webpage are two columns of links to "Invertebrates" (bugs) and "Diseases". Follow each of those links, all of which have pictures that will help you identify your problem. There are also suggestions for treatment. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Bastard cabbage in Austin TX
March 17, 2012 - Not sure if this is the forum to address this; but is there any effort out there to do something about the bastard cabbage taking over Austin? Especially on MoPac where you can hardly see the bluebon...
view the full question and answer

Bees on non-native holly from Oakland TN
April 18, 2013 - I have bees all over my Nellie Stevens holly. Can I spray anything to alleviate this issue?
view the full question and answer

Source for non-native, invasive Winter Honeysuckle from Austin
April 24, 2013 - Seeing Lonicera abiflora today reminds me of the "winter honeysuckle" my grandfather grew in San Antonio from 1920s or so through the 1950's. It was a bush with stiff upright stems and bloomed cre...
view the full question and answer

Root growth on non-native Pittisporum Tobira from San Francisco
October 29, 2011 - How do the roots grow and spread for the Pittosporum Tobira shrub? I have one that is about 20 feet tall and wonder how to care for it? Do you have a picture of how the roots grow?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Ruellia brittonia in Raleigh NC
August 23, 2009 - I have discovered Mexican Petunias this year. I LOVE THEM! Beautiful plant. However, they are so tall and after a rain are leaning badly. Should I tie them back? Will they get stronger as they ma...
view the full question and answer

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