Vinca Wilt

Desert_HeatJune 23, 2005

I've never had a problem with vinca wilting before untill a couple days ago. I've planted vinca numerous times in this bed and never had lost a single transplant to wilting. I am worried I introduced the phytophthora fungus that some of you have mentioned into one of my flower beds with one of the transplants perhaps. The transplants all looked healthy when I planted them about 3 or 4 weeks ago then the other day 2 of the plants located next to each other wilted in 1 day and they look dead. Today another one in the same general area is wilting as well. I was hoping it was just from the 114 degree weather but that wouldn't make sense because the part of the bed they are in gets nore afternoon shade than most of the other bed and the other vinca plants (approx 24 of them) look fine. These plants dying has ruined my color scheme so I need to replace them but if I do are they likely to sucumb to the wilt as well? Can I spray the rest of the bed with fungicide or will the heat cause it to damage the plants? The bed is mulched and on a dripline so the plants don't get overhead watering but if the spores are in the soil won't it just get into the root systems of all the plants?

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PoledraDog(z9 AZ Tempe)

I don't know, but I'm having the same problem with several of my vincas. I've had mine 3-4 weeks. A couple wilted right away, but I thought I had just damaged them when I planted them (had trobule getting them out of the cell pack). Now I've lost a couple of more, and now that you're telling me this, I'm worried. :(

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 10:22PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

I'd be willing to bet it's just that it's too freakin' hot. Sun, no sun -it's just too hot. 3-4 weeks ago it was still pretty warm. I have some vincas planted about the same time and they're next to some mature, established ones. The new ones droop if they get dry at all. This is just a really bad time to put anything new in, you'll just have to baby them if you want 'em to last. Do yours look better after being watered? If so, I think you can rule out the fungus. You might want to throw in some seeds, in the meantime - vincas are pretty easy to sprout and they're automatically acclimated then.

HTH, good luck to both of you!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 11:45PM
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I have vinca in a hanging basket and if I forget to water them the leaves droop a bit downward and then perk right up when I water them. The ones in the bed went completely limp and the leaves were shrivled and completely limp against the stem and the stem was floppy looking as well. It was morning when this happened. They looked fine the afternoon before and the dripline came on in the early morning hours so the bed was moist. I hope it is just the heat though because I would hate to lose the whole bed.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 12:33AM
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PoledraDog(z9 AZ Tempe)

The heat is making them droop some, but I can have 5 plants that look great and then one that is right in the middle of them will be droopy.

That said, the ones that droop more tend to be smaller, so maybe that's it. I ended up pulling them just to be safe, and also because I kept forgetting which ones were drooping, so couldn't see if they were spreading. Yesterday I cleared out the droopers and now if I get more, and they're not all drooping, that I've got a problem.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 12:17PM
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Hi- we moved from CO to AZ a month ago and have an old house in Tucson. We figured if it is growing, it's been here awhile and knows how to survive. Vinca is all over the place. And with the heat, it has been limp midday and evening to the point where I was sure it would start dying. It's still here.
It's a well behaved plant. Wish I could say the same for the cat's claw acacia vines that completely covered two courtyards. Mattress-thick wads of growth covering every cactus, oleander, pomegranate, etc. I didn't think the desert was about plant overgrowth!
This heat has been intense. I was surprised to see vinca here, as I remember it growing in semi-shady spots in Colorado.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 7:07PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Hi Nina - welcome to Arizona and the forum! We hope to hear from you often.

Be careful with that cat's claw acacia- I nearly lost an eye to that stuff once. Yikes - I don't envy you the job of getting that under control.

Back to the subject at hand....the only other thing I can think of that could be a problem is how you're watering them - you might want to not count on the drip-line for a bit and hand water them, making sure they're absolutely wet down to a depth of several inches.

You might find this interesting reading....

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant dzs.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 10:53PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

ninaCo, Are you talking about catclaw vine or cat claw acacia that is a smallish tree? Catclaw vine will grow over and under everything. It has bright yellow flowers. Catclaw acacia has little puffy flowers.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 11:15PM
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Daisy_AZ(z9 AZ)

Hi Desert Heat,

I just had the same problem with one of my Vinca's. This was not any ordinary wilting due to lack of water or heat. This very happy and hardy plant just up and died within two days, whereas all the other vincas around it remained very happy. I went to my nursery here in Tucson, Harlow Garden, and asked them. They said that it was Vinca Wilt. However, they did not describe it as a fungus but as a virus caused by an insect called the beet leafhopper. This insect goes from plant to plant and carries this virus. The virus is also in the soil. They also told me that healthier and hardier vinca's could withstand the virus for years. Whether it would effect the rest of my vincas or any new ones I planted I was told was a 50/50 chance. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 5:57PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Interesting... but when I google "Vinca Wilt", all I get is this posting - I wonder if they meant another type and just tagged Vinca on it? Verticillium wilt, for instance?

Here is a link that might be useful: Verticillium wilt

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 10:10AM
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bigmacz(z9 AZ)

I have vinca in pots around my pool and they have been so lush and absolutely goregous until the last week. I have lost at least 1 plant in each pot and several others look as if they are not far behind. I am totally bummed, they looked better than they ever have. I just wish we had a few more choices that are as colorful without having to worry about that.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 11:21AM
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not sure what the fungus is named, but we fight vinca fungus all the time in the nursery. the wilts described above may be heat... but if it's fungus, you'll know by the high fatality rate. we try to propagate vinca with less water than we used to, to cut down on vinca fungus losses. our vinca propagation yield is less, and slower to grow to sellable size, but when we watered "the right amount", our fungus losses were MUCH larger. when you plant, treading that same fine line betwen not enough water and enough water to get fungus is tricky. although you may have bought vinca with fungus, I doubt it: most die too quickly to be sold if they have it... it can show up anywhere with moist conditions and vinca to infect.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 12:49AM
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Easygoing(Sunset zone 13)

I have had the same problem, and a friend of mine in the Nursery trade informed me of Vinca Wilt. She said it was pretty much here to stay. I haven't planted another vinca since. For years I planted them with no problem. I'm guessing it's been about 5 years since I head about Vinca Wilt.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 6:53AM
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When it comes to plant diseases, the University or Arizona plant pathology department is a wealth of information. Vinca wilt (vinca yellows) is caused by a fungus in the soil. One species (P. parasitica), which is the major pathogen causing root disease in citrus grown in Arizona, also causes root and crown diseases of vinca, petunia, hibiscus, verbena, rosemary, Texas sage and silk oak. Here is what Dr. Mary Olson says about vinca (periwinkle).

"Phytophthora root rot of Vinca is common in the low desert in the summer. Transplants often wilt and die shortly after planting. The roots are rotted. Extra watering usually makes disease progress faster since the pathogen, Phytophthora sp., is most active under very moist conditions. Phytophthora is soilborne and once introduced into soils can persist as resting spores for months or years.

An accurate diagnosis is very important. Other pathogens such as Pythium and Rhizoctonia can cause the same symptoms in warm weather. Phytophthora must be cultured in the laboratory or diagnosed using a specific detection kit for accurate diagnosis. If treated early, Phytophthora infection often can be controlled using Subdue fungicide. Infested planting sites should not be planted with Vinca for at least 2 years."

Avoid watering near the trunk of plants (water at the drip line) and allow soils to dry a bit in between applications.

Here is a link that might be useful: U A Extension Plant Pathology

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 12:05PM
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bigmacz(z9 AZ)

Mine are now dropping like flies.....waaaahhhh. It make me very sad, they were doing so well. I guess next year I will have to try something different.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 7:01PM
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We have flower beds around each of three red oak trees in our yard in Houston,
Texas. Until recently one of the beds had the hardiest and most beautiful blooms of the three. Now suddenly the plants are dying, at the rate of one per day. When I pull a wilted plant, another seems to begin wilting.
The other two beds are doing fine, although the plants there were never as large or beautiful. Could it be a fungus or possibly some sort of pest?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 10:46AM
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I had a terrible case of Vinca wilt in a large sloping bed. Today my Vinca is bright and beautiful and blooms marvelously.

Rule 1: Do not fertilize it in the Spring. Wait until late Fall after the plants go dormant and let a light fertilizer winter over.

Rule 2: Beginning in March, whenever the ground thaws, use a solution of Cleary's 3336 (Thiophanate Methyl) in a leaf and soil drench. Repeat monthly if you have a cool, wet Spring.

Rule 3: If there is still wilt after using this fungicide, switch to Banner Maxx.

Vinca gets two types of wilt but the symptoms are identical.

There will not be any wilt.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 3:52PM
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