Vol 124 (2011): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Ornamental, Garden & Landscape

Evaluation of Ten Groundcovers as a Landscape Banker Plant for Amblyseius swirskii

Mary E Henry
University of Florida, IFAS, Polk County Extension 1702 Highway 17 S., P.O. Box 9005, Drawer HS03, Bartow, FL, 33831-9005
Sydney Park Brown
University of Florida, IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 1200 N. Park Road, Plant City, FL 33563
Steven Arthurs
University of Florida, IFAS, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, 2725 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703-8504
Lance C Osborne
University of Florida, IFAS, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, 2725 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703-8504
Published December 1, 2011
  • Scirtothrips dorsalis,
  • Lantana camara,
  • Mimosastrigillosa,
  • Lobularia‘Snow Princess’™,
  • Helianthus debilis,
  • Euphorbia hypericifolia‘Hip Hop’™,
  • Arachis pintoi,
  • Evolvulus glomeratus,
  • Verbenasp.,
  • Ruellia caroliniensis,
  • Zinnia paladosa,
  • biological control,
  • predat
  • ...More


A research project was conducted, in partnership with University of Florida Extension Specialists, evaluating different landscape groundcovers as potential banker plants for a predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii(McGregor). Previous studies have shown A. swirskii feeds on important pests including whiteflies and thrips, and is also possiblysustained on the pollen or extrafloral nectaries of plants such as pepper, Capsicum annuumL. Groundcovers expected to provide favorable conditions for A. swirskiiand potential to be used as a companion plant to landscape roses were evaluated: sterile lantana, Lantana camara(L.) ‘Gold Mound’; sensitive plant, Mimosa strigillosa(Torr. and A. Gray); alyssum ‘Snow Princess’™, Lobularia hybrid(L.); beach sunflower, Helianthus debilis(Nutt.); ‘Hip Hop’ Euphorbia, Euphorbia hypericifolia‘Hip Hop’™; stoloniferous perennial peanut, Arachis pintoi (Krapovikas and W.C. Gregory); blue daze, Evolvulus glomeratus; verbena, Verbenasp.; wild petunia, Ruellia caroliniensis(J.F. Gmel.); and black foot daisy, Zinnia paladosa. Five replications were studied in two 4-week trials. Plants were enclosed within screen cages, infested with 30 predatory mites, and maintained in a greenhouse. The tallest three meristems were inspected with a hand lens weekly. Numbers of predators and other pertinent observations were recorded. At the end of the trial, remaining predators were collected using Burlese funnels. Significantly (P= 0.0001) more mites were collected from alyssum ‘Snow Princess’™ than other treatments.