Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Monday - October 26, 2009

From: Monroe, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Damage to ruellia in Monroe LA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have hundreds of Ruellia Brittoniana. Dwarf Katie White, Katie Blue and Katie Pink. I am finding holes in some of the leaves, Some just have notches chewed out of them. Some of the leaves have even fallen off due to damage it looks like. What can this be and what should I do? I have searched hundreds of questions on your site under plant damage and I still have not found for sure what I need.I saw your information and photos of spider mites, white flies Etc. I don't see anything like that.I saw what we call a stink bug that we see on cucumbers but I only saw one.

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. There are 8 species of ruellia native to Louisiana, but none of them are those you are asking about, all of which are non-native hybrids, and therefore out of our range of expertise. However, we did do some searching for what might have been causing the holes in your plants, and it would appear the reason there is no information on pests and diseases for ruellia is that the general concensus is that it has no pests and diseases of any concern. One possibility that occurred to us is grasshoppers; we have observed in the past that they can be "hit and run" bugs, having a bite here and there but not hanging around. If they are not affecting your blooms, it would not seem you have much to worry about. You should also note that the ruellia is considered an invasive plant in many areas of North America, especially in the South. Read this article from Floridata on Ruellia brittoniana for more information.

Since we are neither entomologists nor plant pathologists, you might get better information from the Louisiana State University Research and Extension Office for Ouachita Parish.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Disease-resistant squash varieties for Central Texas
February 03, 2008 - Can you give me names of some disease-resistant summer squash varieties available in Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Flame acanthus from Bastrop TX
February 17, 2012 - My flame acanthus never lost leaves off the bottom tier of branches this winter. With the brief warm weather and rain we've had, the top and middle tier of branches have all re-leafed. It is very l...
view the full question and answer

Soil for native Chilopsis linearis and Salvia greggii
February 08, 2010 - I want to plant a desert willow and a salvia greggii in my small lot. The developer used sandy loam to fill in the small garden in the front. I am 73 and a bit impaired. Do I really need to remove ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 09, 2011 - In North Central Texas recommended plants, there are three coneflowers listed: Echinacea angustifolia-Black sampson E. purpurea-Purple coneflower E. purpurea-Eastern purple coneflower Is the Eas...
view the full question and answer

Removing fading blooms from iris
June 19, 2007 - Iris maintenance: when blooms begin to fade do I pluck off just the bloom? cut off the entire stalk? leave it alone? Some blooms grow on stalks without leaves and some on stalks with leaves.
view the full question and answer

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