I know that many of you will find this unbelievable -- but my morning glories did not bloom this year.

For those of you that live where morning glories are a perenial that borders on "weed" this might sound amazing -- but I live in a colder environment where they are an annual.

This is my first summer in a new house and we planted morning glories along the fence line. They shot up and have covered the fence with green -- but the buds never came. The cutting in the glass on the window sill did-- but the plants in the earth never did.

Now the bottom leaves are begining to brown like it is the end of the season -- and I am wondering: What did I do wrong?

They get good early morning sun. Are protected from the mid day sun, and then get evening sun.

My mother in Law for whom morning glories were the bane of her gardening-soul in Tennessee thinks the gods shown warmly on me so that I didn't have to have them blooming their dirty flowers in my yard -- but I really wanted to see their sunny faces in the morning.

What is wrong?

Additional Information

  1. No idea what variety. Sorry. I will have to do a better job on that next year!
  2. I am in the heartland where we have had a heat wave with intolerable humidity. The flowers should have started and bloomed long before the heat hit.
  3. I started the seeds directly in the ground after rubbing them on a little file and soaking them overnight. They do get mid day shade, the sun they receiving is morning (until 11ish) and afternoon (after 3ish). We water regularly. During the heat we watered twice a day, in the morning before the sun got too hot, and in the evening when it started getting less hot. The location is very well drained. We added no fertilizer to the soil prior to planing. The soil was a new mix of top soil and manure. A wood chip mulch was added to the top to keep in moisture.

  4. Pictures below: enter image description here enter image description here


6 Answers 6


More often than not, Morning Glories will only produce buds and flowers on poor soil (i.e. if they feel their survival is threatened); if the soil is high in nitrogen and very fertile, they grow away, producing a lot of lush foliage and stubbornly refuse to flower. You did well not to add any fertilizer to the soil before planting, but I suspect that the manure you incorporated is the main culprit here; it has probably made your soil too rich.

Morning Glories also prefer sunshine throughout the day, and dry to moist soil. The fact that they are only receiving morning sun (the late-afternoon sun will be of little benefit) and, during the heat, have been watered twice a day, are almost certainly contributory factors. Morning Glories are deep-rooting, and over-frequent (particularly superficial) watering will simply encourage them to surface-root and stress them; it can also make them vulnerable to disease by depriving them of essential elements which are washed down into the sub-soil.

The distinctive yellowing between the veins of the lower leaves in your photos leads me to think that this may, in fact, have happened, and that the plants may be suffering from an iron deficiency; this can easily be remedied with a foliar feed - see article by the University of Arizona Extension here - which you could give them next Spring.

I hope this helps. I am struggling hard to eradicate Morning Glories from my vegetable plot, and you are bent on growing them...one man's Morning Glory is another man's weed ;)

  • I've read that Morning Glory leaves will turn to yellow either because of over watering or because of under watering. But how does one recognize which one is which? I'm watering them regularly, only doing it when soil is dry (so maybe once every 2 days) and they are in the seedling stage (about 3 inches high) but for some the first two leaves are showing decolored patches or don't look as healthy as they initially were. They take a really good amount of direct sunlight (10 am to 3-4 pm). Also I think I've read that those 2 first leaves are expected to fall so... how can one really tell?! :)
    – red-o-alf
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 20:03
  • Yes it is very challenging and frustrating at times because the symptoms of over/under watering are the same! One way to tell the amount of water in the soil is to get a moisture meter and measure it often. Without one, you can stick your finger several inches in the soil and see if moist soil comes back up on your finger.
    – SpecialK
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 15:50

Did you sow the seed directly in the ground, or start them indoors then transfer them outside, or buy some small starter plants and plant them?

It's a little difficult to tell from the photos you've posted, but it looks like the Morning Glory gets some reasonable shade. If that is in fact the case, that could be one factor causing the lack of flowers. As far as I'm aware, Morning Glory loves the the sun and really needs full-sun to be totally happy.

Before the heat hit and in fact while you've been experiencing the heat, was the Morning Glory getting enough water? Again as far as I' aware, Morning Glory prefers constant moisture, but good drainage is also important (they don't like sitting in water).

From the first photo (close up of the leaves), the leaves look like they haven't received either enough sunlight or water or a combination of both.

Did you add any fertilizer (especially one containing "Phosphorus") to the soil when you planted them?

If no, and combined with lack of sun and/or water, that could be another factor contributing to lack of flowers.

From below comment: They do get mid day shade, the sun they receiving is morning (until 11ish) and afternoon (after 3ish).

That means they are missing out on 4 hours of full-sun a day, that's a lot of sun to be missing out on, especially for a plant that likes (needs) full-sun.

From below comment: During the heat we watered twice a day, in the morning before the sun got too hot, and in the evening when it started getting less hot.

IMHO you are watering too often (which doesn't necessarily translate to enough water). Nearly all plants planted in the ground (plants in containers are a completely different kettle of fish), do much better with one or maybe two (in the heat of summer) really good, "deep" waterings a week. Even plants that prefer moist conditions do better if they go through a "slight" drying out phase between waterings.

From below comment: We added no fertilizer to the soil prior to planing.

If you try again next year, I would add something like bone meal to the soil at time of planting.

Earlier this year when I planted my Missouri native garden, I put in 20 Missouri evening primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa) plug (very small) plants. After a couple of weeks in the ground they were starting to look a bit sorry for themselves, thought I was going to definitely lose 6 or 7 of them. I decided to work a small amount of bone meal into the soil around all of them, all but 1 of them are now doing great (good size and flowering).


I have grown morning glories off and on for several years. The years that I added blood meal, they grew incredibly high- but no flowers. The years I did not add any fertilizers- many flowers.


I have a morning glory trellis that had healthy plants with copious flowers every year, then last year - no flowers until just a half dozen or so just before the first frost. This year again nothing until mid-July. I had read about poor soil and not over watering so I did neither.

Finally, yesterday I decided to try a different approach and bought Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster for the high phosphorus content. I applied it at 8PM last night and at 7:30AM when I went out for the morning paper every vine had tiny blossum shoots starting, literally hundreds.

I am convinced. If your glories are not blooming, add phosphorus. The middle number.

  • I had morning glories up and over the roof of our shed, but no blooms. I bought Miracle Grow Bloom Booster last Monday, and by Wednesday I had blooms. Today, Tuesday a week later, I can't even count the number of blooms. I used the suggestion from this site that they needed phosphates (which is what is in the Bloom Booster).
    – user1563
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 22:15
  • 2
    Shirley, I hate to blow this out of the water, but the feed you gave would no way have had any effect in terms of blooms appearing for 4-6 weeks - if blooms appeared within 3 days of feeding, they were coming anyway, you just couldn't see them yet.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 15:39
  • I know people that sneer at Bloom Booster but I've had good results with my flowers too. I grow cut flowers. I just use it later in the season. Earlier I use granulated, high phosphorus. Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 1:53

Freely reseeding invasive annual here in Zone 5. Like others said, needs all day sun and dryish soil. Fertilizer unnecessary.


Using raw manure or even just blood meal will most certainly disturb the balance of chemistry for any flowering plant. Too much Nitrogen relative to Phosphorous and Potassium will cause vegetative growth. Lots of luscious leaves and growth but no reproductive growth such as flowers and seed and fruits. Adding a balanced fertilizer is the best way to be in control of the chemistry. Too much nitrogen also causes plants to be more susceptible to disease and insects. To enhance flowering and fruits that nitrogen HAS to be either equal or less than phosphorous and potassium.

This is so common when plants are fertilized by au natural stuff like manure, blood meal, fish emulsion. There are many 'organic' balanced fertilizers. My favorite go to organic all purpose fertilizer is by Dr. Earth. 5-5-5. The nitrogen is equal to the phosphorous and potassium. 'Organic' is also inherently slow release, long lasting yet I still only use half of what the directions say. If I see symptoms of deficiency or even excess, I can then address that problem later. Less is Best, More is death and None is dumb where adding fertilizer to the soil is concerned but this is talking about a BALANCED fertilizer not some glorified natural fertilizer that one has no idea about the composition. Bad news. What did you add to the soil? Top soil? Out of bags? Was there fertilizer added? Manure? Decomposed? What did it look like? Smell like? I am assuming hot or non decomposed manure. Non decomposed mulch (wood chips) would ameliorate the Nitrogen because decomposers use Nitrogen for energy to do their work. The decomposers use any Nitrogen in the soil before plants are able to use what little is left.

Next year use a balanced fertilizer; Osmocote works well. 14-14-14 Extended release, should last the entire season even using half of the recommended amounts and applications in the directions. Dr. Earth 5-5-5 all purpose (keep an eye out later in the season to add a bit more, never add fertilizers with Nitrogen just before winter). I also use (there are so very many products) Growilla, 2-5-4. Low nitrogen for use later in the season.

One more question; do you smoke cigarettes or have friends that do that have touched or blown smoke nearby these plants? Looks like mosaic virus in your last picture. Again, plants without a balanced fertilizer program are susceptible to disease and insects.

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