I'm having problems with my morning glories this year and I don't know
why or what I can do next year to keep this from happening. All my MGs
are grown in containers and although in past years they start to lose
their lower leaves, this year they look like total crap and on some
trellises they haven't even covered the top like in past years. The new
foliage looks small and frail whereas in past years they were still
climbing and growing at this time of the year. They all seemed to have
flowered nicely and on only one trellis they have done OK this year. In
the following pics I'll step you through the situation and hopefully
someone will have some insight as to what went wrong. I live in Zone 5
Chicago where we suffered a horrendous drought this year and it has been
hot but I have been very diligent about keeping these things watered.
Watering this garden has literally been an albatross around my neck
requiring my attention every single day making me look forward to fall
and winter but I digress. As much as I like to attribute the problem to
the drought, and that's been my standard excuse this year for every
garden problem :-), I'd like to know what could be the real cause of
this since MGs have become a staple of my garden's foliage in August -
Note: All the following pics have been reduced to 100K or less in size
and they were taken today which is kind of gloomy here.
Here is a pic of one trellis that has healthy flowering MGs:
Some of these vines originate 8 feet down a wall. The lower parts of
these plants are now barren but I'm going to concentrate on a different
but similar looking trellis.
Here is an example of a trellis with barren lower vines, vines that are
far more barren this year than any year I've done this. Note in the
lower part of the pic there are the three containers where the MGs are
grown. One is a 5 gallon bucket and the two stainless steel ones are
On July 23 of this year this picture was taken (at a different angle):
Notice how crappy the vines have gotten in less than two months.
This is a full view of that entire trellis today:
There are flowers on top that look nice even though the vine doesn't but
since today is so gloomy they're difficult to photograph.
If you read this far here is my quandary: In the past I've grown MGs in
these big square boxes or 5 gallon buckets. I wanted to see how small
of a container I could use so I set up an experiment using a quasi-
hydroponics technique. In the following pic you'll see a small 5" pot
stuffed into a plastic cover of a 50 pack CD-R spindle.
The water drains from the pot and collects into the spindle cover. The
MG plant's roots have grown out of the bottom of the pot and has
completely filled the plastic spindle cover and now soak in water that
has turned green.
Ironically, this MG vine has not succumbed to leaf loss and has
maintained its health throughout the entire summer even though it is
growing in such a small container. Here is a pic of the full vine:
Next year I need to rebuild the containers that hold the morning glories
and I was thinking of employing this hydroponics-lite technique by build
water reservoirs for the MG's roots to congregate as they start getting
big. I'm a little unclear as to what's going on with these MGs this
year and why roots soaking in water would do better. According to what
I read about hydroponics, I thought that roots also need oxygen too
which is why those systems pump water in and out of the root system. On
other trellises they're growing in very large pots where being root
bound shouldn't be a problem but they're going barren as well so I'm not
even sure if being root bound is the problem. Any insight would be