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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 31, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native squash plants wilting in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My squash plants were looking really healthy with only some yellow leaves which I was removing and this morning the plants just seemed to fall over. Lots of wilting and some of the branches are falling off. The fruit that was starting to form is rotting. What do I need to do to save it?

ANSWER:

"Squash" generally refers to four species of the genus Cucurbita, native to Mexico and Central America. It was one of the "three sisters" cultivated in Mesoamerica 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, which were squash, maize (corn) and beans. Both because of the vagueness of their origins and the fact that they constantly cross-breed or new species are developed by horticulturists, they fall out of our range of expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are focused on the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.

It is our understanding that the Cucurbita genus is very susceptible to a number of pests and diseases. Since the plant is not considered native and we are not plant pathologists, we really can't be of much help. However, we found a website called The Gardener's Network on How to Grow Squash that might be of some help to you. Also, the County Extension offices are much more attuned to the planting and care of food crops, so we suggest you contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Travis County.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native smoketree for California City, CA
June 28, 2010 - I was wondering if you could tell me if it would be a good or bad idea to plant a Smoke Tree (most likely European) in the vicinity of a septic tank. We are looking for something which will provide a...
view the full question and answer

Florist Gloxinia Care
October 01, 2015 - Got a florist gloxinia and it was doing great for months. Went on vacation and returned; it was wilted. Think son watered it too much. Allowed it to dry. It has some new leaves forming on the very leg...
view the full question and answer

Non-native carrotwood tree in Simi Valley CA
June 25, 2009 - We have a beautiful 40+ foot carrotwood tree that has been covered with small nut-like pods growing in bunches. They are a mess. Is there a spray that controls/eliminates this problem?
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native house plant
October 20, 2007 - I have bought a 7 foot bird of paradise indoor plant, and have a decorative pot to place it into. The plant will remain in its plastic pot, will have a liner inside decorative pot, and decorative moss...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Mexican ruellia in Monroe LA
October 27, 2009 - Dwarf Mexican Petunia I have found information that late in the season, when growth becomes leggy, cut back plants by as much as a half to force a new spurt of growth. Watch for tobacco bud wo...
view the full question and answer

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