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

Sunday - July 14, 2013

From: Eastpointe, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Are non-native hostas causing fly invasion from Eastpointe MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Michigan with a small backyard. I have 5 large hostas with the purple flower blooms which are located by my patio. I was wondering if they can be causing my large population of unwanted flies? Any advice would be helpful.

ANSWER:

From Wikipedia: "Hosta is a genus of about 23–45 species of plants commonly known as hostas, plantain lilies (particularly in Britain) and occasionally by the Japanese name giboshi. Hostas are widely cultivated as shade-tolerant foliage plants. The genus is currently placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae,  and is native to northeast Asia."

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they evolved; in your case, Macomb County, in southeast Michigan.

Therefore, this plant is out of our area of expertise, but we can at least address your question as to whether they are attracting flies. All we could learn was that the only insects the hostas attracted were snails and slugs. There is a native member of the group called "carrion flowers" - Lysichiton americanus (American skunkcabbage). They smell like rotting meat and thus draw in the flies that happen to be the pollinators of the plant.

However, we found no indication that the genus Hosta smells that way nor that it is pollinated by flies. It is more likely the too-fresh manure in some recently-installed fertilizer or a small dead animal in your garden is what is attracting flies.

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Problems in germination of Asclepias tuberosa in New York
August 31, 2006 - I am a member of the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College and I need information on Acleptis tuberosa. I am in USDA zone 6. Last year I planted fresh seeds purchased from Johnny's S...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in shady sand in Florida
March 31, 2013 - We live in central Florida (directly between Orlando and Tampa). Our yard is mostly sand for soil and difficult parts in shade almost all day from large trees. What ground cover (grass) and hedges can...
view the full question and answer

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Need perennials for front beds in south-facing house ib San Angelo, TX.
February 12, 2012 - What perennials will work in my front beds of southern facing house in West Texas?
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming toad lily in Kentucky
April 20, 2008 - I have had a toad lily for three years and it has never bloomed. What do I need to do?
view the full question and answer

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