Morning Glory Pest Control: Dealing With Common Pests Of Morning Glory

Morning Glory Pest Control: Dealing With Common Pests Of Morning Glory

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By: Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

Morning glories are beautiful fragrant flowers that wake up with the sun and add vibrant color to your garden. Morning glories are hardy plants and are normally healthy, but sometimes insects on morning glory vines harm the health of the plant. Yellow, wilting leaves are telltale signs that your plant has an insect problem.

Morning Glory Pest Problems

There are two common types of insect pests affecting morning glories; both are sucking pests. One is the cotton aphid and the other sucking pest is a spider mite.

Cotton aphids come in many colors. They like to attack the morning glory in the morning. They are difficult to see, but if you look closely, you will observe a mass of aphids on a leaf that is yellowed and crinkling.

The spider mite sucks the sap from the underside of the leaf with its sharp mouth. By the time spider mites are detected, a considerable amount of damage will have been sustained by the morning glory.

There are also insects that like to eat through the leaves and stem of the morning glory. The leaf miner drills tunnels into the leaves of the plant. A green caterpillar called a leafcutter feeds at night and severs the stem of the morning glory and a golden tortoise beetle makes small to medium holes in the foliage.

If your morning glory plant is not treated for pests, they will eventually attack the vine. Pests of morning glory vine need to be eradicated as soon as you seem them or evidence of their presence.

Morning Glory Pest Control

A successful way to rid your morning glory of aphids and spider mites is by syringing. Syringing will knock the pests from your plants by using a hard stream of water. To keep these insects under control, it is best if you repeat this process two times a week.

Insecticidal soap and horticultural oils are also used in controlling pests. Both the soap and oil must make contact with the insects for them to be affective. You can also choose from natural pest controls or organic fungicides, like neem oil.

You can also pluck the pests off with tweezers and drop them in soapy water. Doing this is the most environmentally safe way of ridding your morning glory of these pests.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to be consistent and persistent as the health of your plant depends on your diligence.

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Read more about Morning Glory

Something is eating little holes in my green foliage,,help

Something is eating little holes in my foliage.One plant is almost gone.What can I use on them?I am worried I'm going to not going to have any plants left?

Hi HID - there are so many things it could be. Maybe if you could take a look at this thread and Gerris2's link

micka.wffps/leaf1.html , and then tell us how your situation compares, then perhaps we could narrow down possible culprits. In terms of the information on that thread and link, can you give us a better description of your MGs and leaf damage?

forcingflowers - A photo would help us to help you.

The menice eating my MG's are LADY BUGS. HELP ANYONE.

HD, ladybugs are one of your best friends in the garden, because they devour such huge quantities of aphids and other insects that DO eat plants. The adults will eat some pollen and nectar later on, but it ain't the cotyledons and young seedlings that interest them.

I found a description of their life cycle on Google. You have to play around with what you put in Google's search box, but I found the following link by typing

into the search box of

and came up with this: Note how I used the quotes and spaces in what I put in the search box.

There are other websites that will come up that will show you several different kinds of insects that go by the common name of lady bug, and they do look similar to each other.

Have you actually seen the lady bugs eating the leaves, or are they just sitting there? There are some more likely possibilities that MGJapan mentioned that might be more worthwhile to look in:

MGJapan illustrates these posts with photos. Do any of those resemble what's been happening to yours?

My cotyledons had those spots, too, but the first true leaves are forming, and so far they look healthy.

I am having the same problem, ForcingFlowers. Something has been having a feast on my MG vines and they are looking positively ratty. This morning I even went out with a flashlight. I was thinking that I would find snails or slugs, but what I found was a small brownish catepillar about an inch long. There was only one on the underside of a leaf which I picked off. How can 1 small cat do so much damage? He's history now, but does anyone know what type of catepillar it might be and how to control them?

Like you, Ladibug, I did not store a caterpillar I found in one of my wintersowing containers, either. Without a picture of yours or mine in front of me, I can't identify it, but #9 in the following link, the Yellow-Striped army worm, resembles it - . Both it and #10 (Southern army worm) feed on morning glories (sweet potato = Ipomoea batatas)

There's a list of caterpillars specific to morning glories at:

Hopefully having the names of these pests and diseases that can cause various kinds of leaf spots and holes will help in searching for answers.

Well,I am glad the bugs,slugs and pests are feasting.Yes,they are Ladybugs.Is there anything I can dust my plants with safely?

HD, proximity doesn't prove cause. The convergent ladybug has a "look-alike" in the spotted cucumber beetle: Could this be what's on your plants? Pest control is discussed on that website, though I can't say how safe it is.

Other less toxic controls of the spotted cucumber beetles - and others - are discussed in some detail on the DG thread: . This thread discusses different strains of Bacillus thuringiensis that not only control beetles, but also caterpillars.

From Organic Plant Protection, Rodale Press 1976, some organic controls for the spotted cucumber beetle include late planting (or keep plant indoors until after these beetles' season is over, about June 15 in Ohio) mulching beneficial predators like soldier beetle, tachnid fly, braconid wasp, nematode. You'll need to research which ones.

For birds that break off young leaves and stems of seedlings, draping bird netting over my flats of seedlings works. I make three hoops of wire with another wire tying them together, like a "ridge pole", and use that as a support for the netting. For several flats, just use the contraption on the outside flats to hold the netting above them and the inside flats.

Without pictures or more detailed descriptions of the plant damage and pest, we can only guess the identity of the real pest. Y'all let me know if any of this made sense and what happens next in your gardens.

Background and History

Morning glory belongs to the Convolvulaceae family and is a common name that refers to more than a thousand species of flowering plants and more than fifty genera. Some of the most popular genera under this group of plants include Rivea, Merremia, Ipomoea, and Calystegia, among others.

Morning glory also has a rich history, which is a native to China. Its initial uses were for alternative medicine, especially because the seeds can be used as a laxative. In the 9 th century, it found its way in Japan where it became popular as an ornamental flower. The Japanese were the ones who were most active in developing varieties of the plant. The Japanese name of morning glory is asagao, which literally means morning face. In Mexico, Aztec priests are known for using morning glory because of its hallucinogenic effects.

Morning Glory is a Symbol of Unrequited Life

Morning glory is also a symbolic flower. It has a calming effect, making it a great choice for an ornamental plant if you want to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. It is also a symbol of unrequited life. In Christian beliefs, this is also associated with the finite nature of life, which is basically because of the limited time that the flower blooms. However, the meaning of the flower can be different depending on its color.

Stay Away from Morning Glory Weeds

(Laura’s viewpoint) Are morning glory vines noxious weeds or beautiful native plants? Some gardeners feel it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. I disagree. As members of a community, gardeners are not only responsible for the plants growing on their property, but also for the plants which have escaped from their gardens. With so many other beautiful flower varieties available, why risk it? My cons of morning glories? Here you go:

Vigorous, highly competitive plant. Of the many cons of morning glories, the fact they’re highly competitive, vigorous growing vines is the primary reason some gardeners feel they are weeds. It’s not uncommon for morning glories to grow 15 feet (4.5 m.) in a season. They spread rapidly and can quickly crowd out other garden plants. They grow in any type of soil, which makes it more difficult to eradicate the morning glory. Control of unwanted morning glories is best achieved by pulling young vines, but herbicides can also be used.

Limited flowering. As their name implies, morning glories have a limited bloom time. Shade stimulates the blossoms to shrivel, so planting morning glories in anything less than full sun means they will only bloom a fraction of the day. This greatly inhibits their ability to contribute to a showy flower garden.

Confusion with bindweed. One of the most important reasons to pull morning glories out of the garden is their similarity to bindweed. Also called creeping jenny, bindweed has flowers and leaves which are amazingly similar to morning glory. Seasoned gardens may be able to make the distinction, but identifying bindweed might be difficult for the neighbors. Those admiring morning glory in your garden may unintentionally cultivate bindweed. This invasive weed is not only tough to eradicate, it’s also toxic to children and pets. The seeds pose the biggest threat.

Morning glory control is difficult. Even though morning glories are grown as annuals outside of tropical climates, one would hardly know it based on their ability to self-seed. Plant these vines one season and year after year gardeners find more morning glory. Control of this aggressive weed-like plant can only be achieved by deadheading the flowers before they produce seeds. If the gardener misses one year’s batch of seeds due to an illness, injury or family problem, it’s all too easy for this very competitive vine to escape unnoticed.

Another of the reasons to pull morning glories when they first appear is their resistance to herbicides as they mature. Both systemic and broadleaf herbicides are most effective when used on young morning glory vines. At this stage, gardeners may find it easier to remove the twining vines by hand as there’s less risk of overspray reaching other desirable plants. Once the plants mature, they can be difficult to remove.

Basic Morning Glory Growing Tips: Way to Success

FYI, morning glories grow with little care. Before transplanting them to their permanent location, it is highly important to assure they will receive good drainage and sun there. These aren’t water lovers and usually aren’t tolerable to soggy soil. To succeed in the growing process, water the plants twice every week during hot and dry periods.

Always provide support, as these are twiners that are seeking out something to grab and hold. As they are growing upward, insert twigs for support, watching out for the roots.

Don’t refuse from mulching around the plant, as this is a good idea. Mulching can keep the weeds down, which will improve the appearance of the plant.

Species like these aren’t grown to maturity indoors, though it is quite possible for you to start them indoors, if you are aiming at getting a rather earlier start on the season. If you live in the area with a warmer climate, you should better start outdoors. This is how the things will be simpler for you. In addition, your windows will be free waiting for other plants with more pressing needs.

How to grow morning glory? Plant it in the area, where it can receive full sun for the major part of the day. Your main task is to provide arbor for the plant to climb on. The flower will thrive in areas that don’t support the major part of landscape and ornamental plants. Make sure the soil is neither moist nor too fertile, as these conditions will stimulate the lush foliage production with a couple of flowers only. Keep the fertilization process to a bare minimum to escape such results.

Consider light, as morning glory likes full sun for nearly 6-8 hours daily, but it can also tolerate light shades. What places are perfect for the flowers? These are places with some shade during the heat, bright morning sun and direct sunlight in the afternoon.

  • Plant them in the full sun.
  • Give 3-inch peat pots 4-6 weeks before the last frost.
  • The plants don’t always welcome transplantation.
  • Sow the seeds 8 inches apart and ½ inch deep.
  • Soil shouldn’t be too moist.

We have planted morning glories in an indoor container for the first time. We started with three shoots and the vines have grown very well, climbed and intertwined as expected. However, they hardly seem to flower. We will get one flower, it will last a day and drop off and a few days later we will get another one. They seem to be growing on different vines, but it's hard to tell from the intertwining. Additionally, we seem to be getting loads of seed pods. Having only ever planted outside, we've never noticed this before. At current count I have 4 seed pods developing, and I've taken 3 off this week. Is there anything I can do to encourage more flowers, and less seeds?

Morning Glories need full sun.

If the vines are producing seed pods they are spending energy on forming the seeds. Remove the seed pods to encourage more blooms.

Here are a few links with more information on growing Morning Glories.

Bug Repellent for Morning Glories?

What can I put on my morning glories to keep the bugs and insects from eating them. Some pesticides will burn them as they are so delicate.Hardiness Zone: 8aThanks,Angelheart from Clyde, TX Q: What can I put on my morning glories to keep the bugs and insects from eating them. Some pesticides will burn them as they are so delicate.

Angelheart from Clyde, TX

Try removing the pests with a light spray from the garden hose first. Do this in the morning or later in the day to avoid leaf burn during the bright sun. Spraying every 2 to 3 days should significantly reduce insect populations on your morning glories. This methods works especially well for controlling aphids, because they usually fall prey to predatory insects before they are able to find their way back to your plants. If spraying with water doesn't work, try making this tonic out of plants from the nightshade family. Soak 1 or 2 cups of chopped or mashed tomato leaves in 2 cups of water overnight. The next day, strain off the liquid and add two more cups of water to it. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray on your plants as needed.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

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