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 Pests Questions

Deer Resistant Evergreens for Pennsylvania Woods
March 12, 2015 - We are looking for evergreens that will grow in a partially shaded/wooded area and are ideally deer resistant. Hemlocks are out because of a parasite infestation in our area of Pennsylvania.
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars on Milkweed in MA
January 23, 2016 - I have found every year a black/red caterpillars on my milkweed. They eat everything! I have never been able to find out what they are or how to get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

Problems with purple passion flower from DeKalb TX
March 27, 2011 - Yes my purple passion plant, is pretty but there is a piece of it that's all limp, what do I need to do to revive it?
view the full question and answer

Roses being attacked by spider mites
January 18, 2008 - My roses are being eaten alive by spider mites. I read that this area of Texas has a huge problem with these devils! I've tried everything to kill them to no avail! Can you help me? Gratefully yours,...
view the full question and answer

Problems with crossvine from Semmes AL
January 06, 2013 - I have a 3 year old cross vine (tangerine beauty) and the leaves have started turning black and falling off the plant. I have two plants growing on the same pergola (opposite ends) and the second plan...
view the full question and answer

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