The Q&A Archives: Death Of A Morning Glory

Question: I notice you have some very beautiful and atypical morning glories, which I would like to purchase. My problem is that the ones I planted in August grew quickly, flowered and then during the last winds (about a month ago) just whithered up and now appear dried and breakable. One of them has a few flowers, small sickly ones. They both have lots of seeds. These plants grow like wild in my area, up and down my streets and they all seem to be thriving, as they do all year. While mine were growing I noticed that in the afternoon hot sun they would wilt and no amount of water perked them up, only the coolness of the night. The neighboring plants do not do this and I mention it because because perhaps it is related to their death. I would like to plant some of yor prettier ones but don't want to see them die the same way. The vines are on the front and side of my driveway, with a northern exposure on the front and both plants receive a western exposure later in the day. I live In Los Angeles, 7 miles from the ocean. Thank you very much.

Answer: I can think of several possible reasons for the discrepancy between your plants and those of your neighbors. One is that your location is substantially sunnier, warmer or windier than theirs, which would cause the plants to dry out very quickly. This stress would weaken the plants and eventually they would fail to thrive. If you suspect this is the case, you mayn eed to water deeply to keep the soil moist. (Watering deeply less often is better than a light daily sprinkling.) Another reason might be that your soil is different from theirs, either due to unknown factors (such as what happened to the soil when the building was built) or to the way in which it was prepared for planting. You might want to check with them and see if they have been adding amendments to the soil. It is usually a good idea to add lots of organic matter such as compost, well aged stable manure and bedding or rotted leaves to help the soil hold both air and water longer as well as provide nutrients and keep the soil healthy. If you haven't already tried this, you might also consider fertilizing the plants regularly according to the label instructions to help them stay in vigorous growth. There is one last possibility and that is that some sort of physical damage occurred, something like a weed whacker accidently damaged the vines or a passing dog is regularly lifting the leg on it or possibly the wind damaged it. I hope this helps you troubleshoot the problem.

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