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
1 rating

Tuesday - June 17, 2008

From: Lake Winnebago, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Non-native Hyacinth Bean vine dying
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in Missouri and have tried to grow hyacinth bean. Mine drop leaves (after some yellow appears on on them)and the vine turns yellow, then withers to brown. Other places near me grow them beautifully. Too much water maybe? they are in potting soil, clay pot, sun to some shade during the day. Please help! Thanks!!

ANSWER:

Hyacinth bean, Lablab purpureus (syn=Dolichos lablab) is native to Africa.  This is germane to your question only in that the Wildflower Center focuses solely on North American native plants.  However, since your plant problem is general in nature, we may be able to help.

Too much water is a definite possibility.  The growing conditions you describe sound generally favorable for your plant, but if you're getting a lot of rain or are not letting the soil dry out some between waterings, then the roots may be rotting.  If that is the case, you will need to cut the top back hard to save the plant since the remaining roots will not be able to support the abundance of foliage on the vine.

Another possibility is an infestation of thrips and/or spidermites.  Both are tiny creatures which suck feed on plant foliage and cause yellowing and leaf drop.  Check the underside of the leaves with a magnifying glass and look for any barely-visible green or red critters inhabiting the plant.  If spider mites or thrips are there, insecticidal soap will usually take care of the problem.

If you have a good local nursery in your area, you might remove a piece of the vine - not just a single leaf - put the vine in a clear plastic zip-top bag and let a professional horticulturist take a look at it for a more specific diagnosis.

 

More Vines Questions

Climbing plant for Maryland
December 09, 2008 - Hi I am looking for a climbing plant which is native to Maryland. I want the plant to climb up the front of the house to assist with cooling in summer and to make the house look more attractive. I wou...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of growing Smilax pumila (Wild Sarsaparilla Vine in Virginia
June 13, 2006 - Hello, I am inquiring about a plant my grandmother keeps telling me about. It's called sarasee (sp?). It's supposed to have some medicinal properties like helping with a cold and things of that nat...
view the full question and answer

Vine Choices Scarce in Beaverton Oregon
June 08, 2012 - Hi, I am looking for a hearty vine that we could use to cling to and cover a cement wall that is about 8 feet tall and 30 feet long. It is on the south side of our house but never gets direct sunli...
view the full question and answer

Vines non-poisonous to dogs from Madison WI
June 09, 2013 - Are there any vines or crawlers that are non poisonous to dogs? Everything I am finding is poisonous, I want to plant some vines up a fence on their kennel run.
view the full question and answer

Attractive Native Vines to Cover a Chain Link Fence in Upstate New York
September 19, 2009 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Upstate NY (Albany) and my yard is bordered by an old chain link fence. I would like to cover the fence with a natural looking plant (I assume Ivy). What do you ...
view the full question and answer

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