Ask a Question forum: Leaf problem with indoor exotic vine (Rangoon Creeper)

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thornofarose
Sep 24, 2016 4:03 PM CST
Hi there. I'm desperately seeking advice on what is wrong with the leaves on my rangoon creeper. This plant does great in my house but lately the leaves have been getting these splotchy brown spots on them that seem to spread to other leaves which tells me it is some type of blight or maybe a deficiency of some sort...The spots start on the oldest leaves and then work their way up to the newer ones on a stem until the leaves end up dropping off the plant. I've attached some pics of a stem i cut from the plant. If you have any idea what this is and how i can fix it i would be eternally grateful. I've closely inspected the leaves and see no sign of insect damage like spider mites/aphids etc
I tried asking for help on wildflower.org and another site but my question was rejected/ignored. Other than this site i know of no other plant experts i could consult so i'd be really excited to hear back. Thanks :)
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[Last edited by thornofarose - Sep 24, 2016 4:07 PM (+)]
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Sep 24, 2016 4:21 PM CST
Hi and welcome to NGA! I don't have any experience with Rangoon Creeper but I'll take guess looking at your pictures.

Do you feed it? It might just be some kind of deficiency if you don't.

Worst case, it looks like it might be a fungus or bacteria .. can you by any chance wipe it off with a damp cloth or are the brown bits embedded in the leaves? Either way, your best bet is probably spraying with a fungicide.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 24, 2016 4:25 PM CST
Hi and welcome - I haven't grown a Rangoon Creeper for a long time and didn't see this problem on mine, but it was a huge rampant thing growing outdoors, so if it had I wouldn't have seen it anyway. It does look like some sort of soil-borne fungal problem or bacterial blight.

How big a plant is it, and how big is the pot? Have you re-potted it recently or in recent memory? If not, it may be worthwhile to slide the plant out of its pot and have a look at the roots. IF it's pot-bound, take it outside, hose off as much of the soil that's on it as you can, and re-pot in completely new soil. The infection, whether bacterial blight or fungal problem should be mostly eliminated by doing this. When it's in the new pot, prune off any stems that have the spotty leaves, right at their origin.

Did you put the pot outside for the summer? That's really the only way it would contract a blight like that as it's unlikely it would happen indoors.

I have experience with blights on my edibles, such as tomatoes and peppers here in Florida. Every fungus and disease not to mention bug lives here so we get it all. The first thing I always try when I see leaf anomalies that progress up the stems like that is a mild hydrogen peroxide douse. Dilute some H2O2 from the drugstore 1oz. to 32oz. of water and water the plant thoroughly with it. May not help, but it can't hurt. If you re-pot, I'd also do this peroxide douse, so the plant takes up the peroxide/water and hopefully it kills any blighters in the stems.



Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Sep 24, 2016 4:32 PM CST
I believe your Rangoon Creeper wants you to take it outside. They require at least half a day of sun, maybe more. Has it bloomed indoors? I don't know what part of the country you live in. In Texas, they require sun to really bloom!

Welcome to NGA! Hurray!

thornofarose
Sep 24, 2016 5:46 PM CST
Wow guys! Thanks so much for all of the support. I'm located in Oregon if that matters.

I've had this plant for about 2 years and it is not too terribly large (maybe about 4 feet). I checked the roots and it does not appear to be potbound at all. I can really only see the roots on the bottom of the pot. It still has yet to bloom but I do have it under a grow light that it seems to really like. Ironically I did have it outside during some of the summer but it quickly declined and then when I brought it back in my room under the grow light it started taking off again. This plant seems to hate being outside (morning sun and afternoon shade) which is super odd. It still has yet to bloom indoors but I hope it does someday since I hear they smell awesome.

I did actually try feeding it with those fertilizer spikes and shortly after is when I noticed this problem pop up. I wonder if perhaps this could be due to excess salt in the soil? Or perhaps the soil is too alkaline/acidic? Haha, there are just so many variables that come into play, but Im hoping it's just some sort of blight or maybe in the worst case salt build up or acidity problems since I heard those are both difficult and time consuming to correct.

I've already removed the diseased branches don't think the spots can be wiped off.. i think they are physically part of the leaf. I also notice affected leaves lose their vigor and turn a sickly light/yellowish green while the spots start appearing and eventually just wither off the plant. The healthy leaves are very defined and a vivid darkish green. This plant does need a TON of water though. It drinks a lot so I'd be surprised if I was overwatering.

Thanks for the idea on the hydrogen peroxide, I will be sure to try it and check back. Thanks again and let me know if you guys have any further ideas :)

Was also wondering... has anyone tried to grow pyrostegia venusta aka flame vine? This plant is among the most beautiful things I've seen but it is simply impossible to keep alive indoors or out. It's as fussy as it is beautiful. Maybe it just is too tropical for Oregon though.

I was also thinking about Chinese Wisteria... anyone know if this could work indoors under a grow light? I hear they like shade and yes... I know they get huge! :P
I'm intrigued to try it since I hear the flowers smell like grape koolaid?!?. That would be awesome :D

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 24, 2016 6:25 PM CST
Hey, "I'm in Oregon" encompasses a lot of different climates - are you on the coast near Portland? Up in the mountains/ski resorts near Bend? out in the desert? Over near the river? Pendleton? Please fill in your profile so your city/state appears in your posts. That will definitely help us to help you.

Up there in the Pac. NW your Rangoon Creeper definitely isn't getting enough sun. Any way you can give it a sunny window to sit in front of? What you've got to think about is where these plants naturally grow, and try to give it as much of the conditions of its "home" as you can. A grow light is fine, but natural light will make it SO much happier. You've had it for 2 years and it's only 4ft tall? It's surviving but not exactly thriving.

The fertilizer spikes are really only for outdoor use and wouldn't give a plant like that nearly enough goodies. They also concentrate all the plant food in a little area instead of letting it spread around and get to all the roots. You need to use a soluble fertilizer of some sort and give it some regularly, like every couple of weeks in summer and less often but still regularly in winter if you have it in a warm place with good light. Always water and fertilize it with warm water, too.

The flame vine is virtually a weed here, and yes, really gorgeous. But I wouldn't bother trying to grow it indoors unless you have a huge conservatory or a shopping mall. Rampant growth, and it only blooms for about a week once a year.

Can't you just plant the Chinese Wisteria outdoors there? (oh yeah, I forgot you might be up where it's too cold . . . ?? )
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

thornofarose
Sep 25, 2016 2:48 AM CST
Oh! I'll be sure to update my location. I'm really close to portland though even though I'm not sure on the zone.

It used to be a lot bigger but I've cut it back multpile times. If I hadn't it would be 20+ feet by now and probably wouldn't look too pretty lol.

One thing I was wondering is about the temperature of my room. It's generally pretty warm and I was wondering what affect this would have on the plants I have in there... like would it change the plants blooming habit or dormancy period? I wonder if some plants that only bloom a couple weeks of the year could be kept in bloom by a constant warm temperature.

I didn't know the flame vine was in bloom for such a short period of time. I suddenly feel better about not being able to grow one (or anything else in the trumpet vine family for that matter).
I think jade vines are really pretty but they are difficult I've heard and I'd never try to grow something so big.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 25, 2016 8:57 AM CST
Not sure about your other plants, but the Rangoon Creeper will be very happy with warm temperatures all the time. In fact, I was thinking it might have been responding to lower night temps when you put it outside during the summer and you said it wasn't happy. Your house probably stays a little warmer at night even if you have the windows open.

Near Portland, ah, yes! You probably have a lot of grey, rainy days in the winter. (I'm originally from Vancouver BC so know that weather well Smiling ) So your grow light will be necessary even if you could find a brighter window for it. If you want it to bloom, though you might look at putting it under some big fluorescents instead. A ballast from Home Depot with four T6 bulbs in it will come a lot closer to supplying "sunlight" for a big plant like that. Your other plants will love it, too.

If it's been in the same pot for the whole time you've had it, I still think you should put it on some newspaper and slip it out of the pot completely so you can get a look. You've been cutting back the top growth, but the roots could be going around and around in there with very little soil and you wouldn't be able to see it just looking through the drain hole.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Sep 25, 2016 9:26 AM CST
I've also discovered that a lot of tropical plants will try to go dormant if the soil temperature gets below 50°. Some of my extra tropicals sit on heating pads in Winter set to keep the soil temperature in the 60's.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

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thornofarose
Sep 25, 2016 10:46 AM CST
Thanks Elaine and Anne for the responses :).

I've taken it out of its pot and it has plenty of room to stretch it's feet. I can only see fine/thin roots on the sides and the thicker roots directly on the bottom of the soil. I'm guessing these things like to burrow deep but don't really spread their roots out much.

Yes, Portland weather is very random. Summers are hot but will sometimes rain out of nowhere and the winters are either really mild or really freezing and windy. You really never know what you are going to get.

Thanks for the recommendations on the lights. I'd like to upgrade mine since it isn't big enough for my rangoon or the other 5 plants under it or atleast after they get a good size.

Very helpful tip Anne! I've been considering getting some kind of heating instrument for my plants... I don't have any that are ultra tropical or at least to my knowledge. I did buy a kahili ginger that isn't doing good but I'm not surprised. It must not be humid enough. I used to enjoy misting my plants but the jury's out on whether or not it does anything so I kind of just stopped doing it. Misting is a very controversial subject from what I've read online :).

I love the idea of growing plants indoors and find it fun seeing how each will do... so just for fun I will list my successes and failures!

Success,
Gardenia-touchy and doesn't bloom a lot but I don't think I could handle 3 or more open flowers at once in an enclosed space lol.
Fuchsia "Double otto"- Bloomed like crazy in my room in the dead of winter. Unfortunately this one succumbed to whitey after I moved it outside for the summer.
Morning glory "Sora blue"and moonvine.
The most amazing accomplishment... the morning glory had 10 new flowers a day and bloomed non stop for a period of several months. I was very shocked. The moon vine had one huge flower open but I didn't detect any fragrance. In fact, I've never been able to smell them.
Michelia figo- happily growing but still young so no flowers.
Wandering jew
Zonal geranium, - will happily bloom with decent light.
Climbing rose, very fast growing and may actually bloom.

Failures,
Osmanthus fragrans- leaves got dry and stiff/hard
Vigna caracalla aka snail vine - can overwinter but needs way more light then likely any house could provide.
Flame vine- I've tried 4... I admit defeat ;)
Gingers- very high humidity requirements.
-Any plant in the trumpet vine family
Jacobs ladder - (see heliotrope)
Heliotrope - seedlings will just stop growing and then die and adult plants dont do much either
Rhododendron/azalea... never tried either of these indoors but they hate my mom and I as neither of us can grow them... oddly enough they are everywhere in our city but we have no luck.
Japanese honeysuckle- for such an aggressive and invasive plant I feel ashamed to add this to my list of indoor failures. It got powdery mildew on its leaves that I couldn't get rid of.

So there you have it. Some plants can adapt to indoor life quite well. Others will just drop dead the moment you bring them inside. Next I'm thinking about trying a Chinese wisteria but don't really wanna wait 10+ years for a flower so I think I'll pass it up for something else.




Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Pollen collector
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Xeramtheum
Sep 25, 2016 1:03 PM CST
I use a heat mat thermostat along with old heating pads that don't have an automatic shut off. I also use the thermostat for starting seeds in the Spring as well.

https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Pro-Thermostat-Germination-Tempe...
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

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thornofarose
Sep 25, 2016 2:40 PM CST
Thanks Anne! I bet my rangoon would love that.

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