I have this Cathedral Gem Sausage Vine on my trellis. It was planted two years ago and up until at least last October or so it was fine. I live in the pacific northwest and we've had very little sun and a lot of rain the past few months, I'm not sure if that has anything to do with this vine not doing well, but it has at the least contributed to me only seeing the issue now. Here are some pictures of what it looks like:

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Any idea what could be causing this or how to stop it from progressing?

  • anything odd or unusual on the backs of the affected leaves? Have you had lower than usual temperatures at any time over winter, as well as significant rainfall, and if so, how low? Did you emend the soil with good humus rich materials prior to planting, or have you applied any as a mulch since?
    – Bamboo
    Mar 27, 2017 at 11:17
  • When was the last time you fertilized and the time before that? What are you using for fertilizer? What is your water source? This looks like an overload of salts (fertilizer and tap water salts). There is a bit of fungus shown by 'shot hole' but I don't see insect damage at all as the problem. This is systemic and chemical...like salt buildup.
    – stormy
    Mar 27, 2017 at 16:32
  • I don't think I've ever actually fertilized the vine. We've definitely had significant rainfall in the last 6 months. Apr 15, 2017 at 20:39

3 Answers 3


One possibility is way too much water. Look for a moment at the base of that square fence post; note the green growth progressing from the soil line and the wet patches. My feeling is that the roots were doing well, progressed nicely downwards during the summer since the soil was moist and not wet, but then the rains accumulated around those new roots and for some reason could not escape. Roots need air. Waterlogging will cause the entire plant to start shutting down.

Proposed diagnostic: see if you can remove a core of soil. Choose a location close to the plant and drive a thin-wall copper tube down so that you capture roots and soil. Pop the core and examine. Look in the core hole that remains and see how far the water rises. Use a dipstick if necessary. If it stays dry all the way down to 2 feet then I'm wrong but you have not lost anything.

If I'm correct, get the water level down as soon as possible and keep it down; let the plant recover itself. Consider a slightly higher location for a rooted cutting or transplant.

  • I did what you've said and there is definitely a lot of water. We've had a lot of rainfall the past 6 months, I'm going to improve drainage there and hope it helps. Apr 15, 2017 at 20:40

Inspect the heck out of it. Look for pests. You WANT to find them because the alternative is a bacterial or fungal infection.

On the plus side, most wilts aren't lethal. On the minus side, many are.

In either case, I recommend (as usual) the old 1gal water, 4 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons Dawn insecticidal/fungicidal spray. Wet leaves all over thoroughly (there should be runoff), and again two weeks later.

If no pests are found, there's a chance the infection is in the plant (which unfortunately is typically what blackened leaves like that means) and the spray will be ineffective. However, even most internal infections aren't lethal (though some are) - and while the plant is dying above ground, its root ball is preparing new shoots to send up.

This is assuming there hasn't been gross over-fertilization.

Inspect and hope to find aggressive rust mites. If none, spray and hope it's aggressive rust fungus. If not, pray it's not a lethal infection.

  • I am seeing over fertilization. Any time the tips and margins are affected like this it is too high of salts, fertilizer. Rust definitely is not a problem here as yet, my experience.
    – stormy
    Mar 27, 2017 at 20:28

Without more information browning or die back from tips and margins of leaves is OVER FERTILIZATION. This is not fungus or insect. I would OVER WATER THE SOIL IN A BIG WAY RIGHT NOW. Dig a little trench so that the water is able to flow away from this plant. This might be a deal breaker depending on what you've used and how much and how often and how long ago. I've not seen a better example of over fertilization...I could be wrong but need much more information. What about the other plants nearby? More pictures, formula label information...etc.

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