Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 14, 2013

From: Charlottesville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Vines
Title: Tip Dieback on Lonicera sempervirens
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) vine in Virginia which does well early in the season, but then around July, the very tips of its shoots (just the last 1-2 inches) wither, turn black, and die. It looks like the kind of damage a cane borer would cause. Except for this, the rest of the plant seems healthy. I'd be grateful for any advice about what the problem may be, and how to fix it.

ANSWER:

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) is a popular garden plant that could have problems with aphids, soft-bodied sucking insects that excrete a sugary substance (honeydew) that coats the leaves. A black fungus (sooty mold) then will grow on the honeydew.  Aphid damage often occurs on the new growth. Other problems include leaf spot diseases and environmental damage from drought, drowning and edema reports the University of Illinois extension.

Other problems reported by Edward F. Gilman from the University of Florida extension could include four-lined plant bug causing sunken, round, brown spots on the leaves. Scale insects infesting the stems and branches or powdery mildews forming white dust-like substances on the leaves.

Nancy Szerlag on the gardening.yardiner.com website offers one additional (and more likely) possibility, honeysuckle leaf blight. She has observed that a fungal blight disease attacks new honeysuckle leaves causing them to curl severely and turn brown or black, then fall prematurely. Remove and destroy infected plant parts and spray the vines every 7 to 10 days with a copper-based fungicide from the time buds swell to just before flowers open.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Information about giant yellow and black wasps
September 13, 2008 - Regarding a previous question submitted by a person asking about the giant yellow and black wasps..It's a Cicada Killer.I used to see them all the time when I was a kid in Victoria, Tx..But I haven'...
view the full question and answer

Live oak leaves turning yellow after planting in Houston
December 19, 2011 - We bought a 65 gallon live oak in early October, and have been watering fairly heavily three days a week. It seemed OK, then all of a sudden lots of the leaves are turning yellow. Is it getting too ...
view the full question and answer

Coreopsis failing to bloom in Sonora CA
August 04, 2009 - My Coreopsis buds form and then die. Very few open. The plants are two and three years old, in a clay type soil. Is it possible they're getting too much water, and that is whats making the buds die ...
view the full question and answer

Failure of TX bluebonnets to thrive
May 28, 2015 - We have had extraordinary luck with bluebonnets growing in our driveway of decomposed granite--until last year and this year. The bluebonnets seem to be drying up and wilting away. The ones in other a...
view the full question and answer

Native Annual Plant Substitute for Impatiens
May 11, 2013 - What can be used as an annual flowering plant to substitute for the diseased impatiens? Is Vinca one you would suggest?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.