I planted some morning glory vines (Ipomea sp.) outdoors in a box about 10 weeks ago (mid-March, I'm in Zone 8) and they've been underperforming the whole time -- the vines are not even a meter long, and many of the new leaves have been small, pale, and twisted, while the older leaves are irregularly-discolored and sort of raggedy-looking.
Their planter contains a loose, acidic, slightly sandy topsoil, to which I've added a variety of liquid fertilizers over the past several weeks (see below) in a largely unsuccessful attempt to remedy these symptoms The vines receive about 7-8 hours of full sun per day, and get watered regularly.
The morning glories share the planter with some of the most exuberantly healthy-looking nasturtiums I've ever seen, which suggests that these conditions are not generally inhospitable to plant life.
I suspected some kind of nutrient deficiency (though nothing in particular quite seemed to fit the symptoms) and at roughly weekly intervals I have tried liberally fertilizing with one of the following:
- Miracle-Gro (12-4-8)
- Epsom salt solution
- Chelated iron
- Calcium phosphate suspension
So I'm assuming the plants aren't deficient in N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg, or Fe, at least.
Sadly, none of the above seems to have helped much. If I had over-fertilized the container, I might expect to see some problems with the nasturtiums, but those just keep accelerating. Moreover, the slow growth and pale-twisted leaves on the morning glories preceded the addition of any liquid fertilizers.
Does this look like some kind of disease? A virus, maybe? I don't see any pests on the vines, with the possible exception of an occasional red mite. I have a microscope, in case examining the leaf tissue at higher magnification could be diagnostic. I'd appreciate any suggestions, I'm running out of ideas.
UPDATE: Found some aphids hiding down by the dirt in the lowest leaves of the morning glories. Maybe they came for the nasturtiums and stayed for the morning glories? The worst-affected leaves are not the ones that currently have aphids on them though, and I've never seen aphids on the upper leaves.
UPDATE 2: Grabbed this little bugger off one the worst-affected leaves -- looks like a thrip. Maybe that's my problem.