Black Eyed Susan Vine : Leaves Turning Yellow, Brown, Care Guide

Black-eyed Susan vine, a member of the Scrophulariaceae family, is a tender perennial native to tropical Africa, cherished for its aesthetic appeal. With its clock-like flowers, the vine adds a burst of color and vitality to gardens, patios, and containers. This section aims to offer a brief overview, emphasizing the unique characteristics that make this vine a popular choice among gardening enthusiasts.

The Black-Eyed Susan vine, also known as the Clock Vine or the African Clock Vine, boasts a rapid growth rate and can cover trellises, fences, and walls in a short span. Its vibrant orange or yellow flowers, resembling the black-eyed susan daisy, make it a sought-after addition to any garden. This section provides a snapshot of what makes this vine special, setting the stage for a detailed exploration of its care requirements.


Planting the Black-Eyed Susan vine is a crucial step in ensuring its healthy growth and abundant flowering. This section covers various aspects of planting, including propagation methods, ideal growing conditions, and the necessary support structures.

Methods of Propagation

Growing the Black-Eyed Susan vine can be achieved through seeds or cuttings. Here’s a step-by-step guide to both methods:

  1. Seeds:

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    • Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting.
    • Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in a seed starting mix.
    • Keep the mix consistently moist and warm.
    • Germination typically occurs within 10-21 days.
  2. Cuttings:

    • Take 4-6 inch stem cuttings in late spring or early summer.
    • Remove leaves from the bottom 2 inches of the stem.
    • Dip the cut end in rooting hormone.
    • Place the cutting in a pot filled with moist potting mix.
    • Maintain a warm and humid environment until roots develop.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Creating the right environment for Black-Eyed Susan vine ensures its optimal development:

  1. Sunlight:

    • Choose a sunny location with well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral soil.
    • In hot climates, provide some afternoon shade to prevent leaf scorch.
    • Ensure a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  2. Spacing and Support:

    • Space plants 12-18 inches apart to allow for proper growth.
    • Provide a trellis or other support for the vine to climb on, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

By following these steps and considerations, you lay the foundation for a thriving Black-Eyed Susan vine in your garden.


Caring for the Black-Eyed Susan vine involves a series of essential practices, including watering, fertilization, pruning, and protection against pests and diseases. This section offers a detailed guide to ensure the longevity and vitality of your vine.


Proper watering is critical to the health of Black-Eyed Susan vine, striking a balance between moisture and drainage:

  1. Consistent Moisture:

    • The vine prefers consistently moist soil but is intolerant of soggy conditions.
    • Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
    • Water deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.
  2. Soil Quality:

    • Thrives in rich, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.
    • Amend garden soil with organic matter like compost or peat moss for improved drainage.
    • Use high-quality potting mix for container-grown plants.


To promote robust growth and vibrant blooms, regular fertilization is essential:

  1. Balanced Fertilizer:
    • Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.
    • Choose a fertilizer with equal parts of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).
    • Adjust the frequency based on the specific needs of your Black-Eyed Susan vine.


Pruning plays a crucial role in shaping the vine and encouraging healthy growth:

  1. Regular Pruning:

    • Black-Eyed Susan vines are vigorous growers and benefit from regular pruning.
    • Prune back any dead, diseased, or damaged stems in the spring.
    • Conduct an overall trimming to maintain size and shape.
  2. Timing:

    • Prune the tips of the vine in the spring to promote bushier growth.
    • Regularly trim the fast-growing vine to prevent it from becoming unruly.

By adhering to these watering, fertilization, and pruning practices, you provide the necessary care for a flourishing Black-Eyed Susan vine.

Pests and Diseases

While relatively pest-resistant, Black-Eyed Susan vines can encounter issues such as spider mites, aphids, and fungal diseases. This section outlines steps to identify, treat, and prevent these challenges:

Pest Management

  1. Identification:

    • Monitor for signs of aphids and spider mites, such as yellowing leaves and webbing.
    • Regularly inspect the undersides of leaves for pest activity.
  2. Treatment:

    • Address pests promptly with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
    • Apply treatments according to product instructions and recommended concentrations.

Fungal Diseases

  1. Identification:

    • Watch for symptoms of fungal diseases like leaf spot and mildew, including discolored or spotted foliage.
    • Maintain good air circulation around the plant to minimize fungal growth.
  2. Treatment:

    • Combat fungal diseases with a suitable fungicide.
    • Apply fungicides following recommended guidelines, focusing on prevention during humid conditions.

By integrating these pest and disease management practices into your care routine, you safeguard the health and vitality of your Black-Eyed Susan vine.


Overwintering is crucial, especially in regions where the vine is not frost-hardy. This section outlines steps to protect your Black-Eyed Susan vine during the winter months:

  1. Indoor Transition:

    • Bring the vine indoors before the first frost to prevent cold damage.
    • Choose a sunny indoor location with a cool temperature to simulate winter conditions.
  2. Sparing Water:

    • Water the vine sparingly during the winter, adjusting the frequency based on indoor conditions.

These measures ensure your Black-Eyed Susan vine survives the winter and regains its vigor when reintroduced to outdoor conditions.


Propagation allows you to expand your Black-Eyed Susan vine collection or share its beauty with others. This section covers methods like seeds, stem cuttings, and layering, providing detailed instructions for each:

  1. Seeds:

    • Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date.
    • Sow seeds in a seed starting mix and maintain moisture and warmth.
    • Germination usually occurs within 10-21 days.
  2. Stem Cuttings:

    • Take 4-6 inch stem cuttings in late spring or early summer.
    • Dip the cut end in rooting hormone for enhanced root development.
    • Place cuttings in pots with moist potting mix, ensuring warmth and humidity.
  3. Layering:

    • Perform layering in the spring or summer for an additional propagation method.
    • Create a layered stem by burying a section in soil while keeping the tip above ground.
    • Once roots develop, sever the stem and replant the rooted section.

By mastering these propagation techniques, you can enjoy an expanding display of Black-Eyed Susan vines in your garden.


Black-Eyed Susan vine offers a variety of cultivars, each with its unique charm. This section highlights notable varieties and their distinctive features:

  1. Thunbergia alata ‘Aurea’:

    • Yellow flowers distinguish this variety, adding a sunny touch to your garden.
    • Ideal for those seeking a different color palette in their landscape.
  2. Thunbergia alata ‘Alba’:

    • This variety features elegant white flowers, providing a serene and classic appeal.
    • Suitable for those looking to create a softer color scheme in their outdoor space.
  3. Thunbergia alata ‘Orange Glow’:

    • Orange flowers with a dark center characterize this vibrant variety.
    • Perfect for adding a pop of color and contrast to your garden.

Understanding these varieties allows you to make informed choices based on your preferences and garden design.


Black-Eyed Susan vine is a versatile addition to various garden settings. This section explores its applications and how it can enhance different spaces:

  1. Vertical Interest:

    • Ideal for climbing trellises, arbors, and fences, creating visually appealing vertical elements.
    • Adds a dynamic and lush backdrop to your garden.
  2. Groundcover:

    • Its fast-growing nature makes it suitable as groundcover, filling in empty spaces quickly.
    • Creates a cohesive and vibrant ground layer in your landscape.
  3. Space Efficiency:

    • Well-suited for areas with limited space, where it can efficiently cover vertical surfaces.
    • Offers a solution for gardeners seeking a lush display in confined environments.

Considering these uses allows you to strategically incorporate Black-Eyed Susan vine into your garden design.


Maintaining a Black-Eyed Susan vine requires attention to specific considerations. This section provides practical tips for optimal care and enjoyment:

  1. Regular Trimming:

    • Given its fast growth, regularly trim the vine to prevent it from becoming unruly.
    • Pruning helps maintain a tidy appearance and promotes bushier growth.
  2. Frost Protection:

    • As the vine is not frost-hardy, take precautions in colder climates.
    • Overwinter the plant indoors before the temperature drops below freezing.
  3. Versatility:

    • Appreciate the vine’s versatility in adding a touch of tropical flair to any garden.
    • Experiment with its placement to explore various design possibilities.

Implementing these tips ensures a rewarding experience in cultivating and enjoying your Black-Eyed Susan vine.

Black-Eyed Susan vine leaves turning yellow

Black-Eyed Susan vine leaves turning yellow can be attributed to factors like overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiency (especially nitrogen), insufficient sunlight, and pests such as spider mites or aphids. To address the issue, adjust watering practices, ensure proper sunlight exposure, fertilize with a balanced fertilizer, and treat for pests if necessary. Additionally, maintaining optimal soil pH, regular pruning, and providing appropriate overwintering care in colder climates can contribute to healthier foliage.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of potential reasons and corresponding solutions:

Environmental Factors:

  1. Overwatering:

    • Cause: Black-Eyed Susan vines are drought-tolerant, and excessive watering can lead to root rot, hindering nutrient absorption and causing yellowing leaves.
    • Solution: Reduce watering frequency and ensure the soil is allowed to dry slightly between waterings. Improve drainage if necessary.
  2. Underwatering:

    • Cause: Insufficient water supply can lead to yellowing, starting from the tips and edges of the leaves.
    • Solution: Increase watering frequency, especially during hot, dry periods. Ensure the soil receives adequate moisture to support the plant.
  3. Nutrient Deficiency:

    • Cause: Nitrogen deficiency can result in yellowing leaves, as nitrogen is crucial for chlorophyll production.
    • Solution: Apply a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 weeks to replenish nutrients, with a focus on nitrogen. Follow the recommended application rates.
  4. Sunlight:

    • Cause: Black-Eyed Susan vines thrive in full sun. Insufficient sunlight can cause leaf yellowing and overall weakness.
    • Solution: Ensure the vine receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Consider adjusting its location to a sunnier spot if needed.


  1. Spider Mites:

    • Cause: These pests feed on plant sap, causing yellow stippling and discoloration on leaves.
    • Solution: Check the undersides of leaves for fine webs or tiny, spider-like creatures. Treat with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil following product instructions.
  2. Aphids:

    • Cause: Aphids suck sap from leaves and stems, leading to yellowing and wilting.
    • Solution: Inspect leaves and stems for clusters of aphids. Treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil as per recommended guidelines.


  1. Fungal Diseases:
    • Cause: Fungal infections can cause leaf spots, discoloration, and yellowing.
    • Solution: Check for signs of fungal growth, such as powdery mildew or rust. Treat with a suitable fungicide following product instructions.

Additional Tips:

  1. Soil pH:

    • Cause: Black-Eyed Susan vines prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. Alkaline soil can interfere with nutrient uptake, causing yellowing.
    • Solution: Test the soil pH and consider adding sulfur or aluminum sulfate to lower it if necessary.
  2. Pruning:

    • Cause: Failure to deadhead spent flowers may divert energy towards seed production, leading to yellowing.
    • Solution: Regularly deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. Additionally, pinch back the tips of the vine in spring to promote bushier growth.
  3. Overwintering Care:

    • Cause: Inadequate protection during winter can result in stress and yellowing.
    • Solution: In colder climates, bring the vine indoors before the first frost. Place it in a sunny location with a cool temperature and water sparingly during the winter months.


Black-Eyed Susan Vine Leaves Turning Brown


  1. Excessive Sun Exposure: Prolonged intense sunlight can lead to leaf scorching and browning.
  2. Underwatering: Insufficient water supply causes dehydration, resulting in brown, crispy leaves.
  3. Spider Mites: Infestation by spider mites leads to stippling and browning.
  4. Fungal Diseases: Infections like leaf spot or powdery mildew contribute to browning.
  5. Cultural Practices: Overwatering, poor soil drainage, and nutrient imbalances can cause leaf browning.
  6. Pruning: Dead or diseased foliage may contribute to browning.
  7. Temperature Extremes: Cold snaps or extreme temperatures can damage leaves.


  • Adjust sun exposure, providing afternoon shade if necessary.
  • Increase watering frequency and ensure consistent soil moisture.
  • Treat spider mite infestations with insecticidal soap.
  • Identify and treat fungal diseases with appropriate fungicides.
  • Improve soil drainage and address nutrient imbalances.
  • Prune away affected parts for better plant health.
  • Provide protection during extreme temperature conditions.

Black-Eyed Susan Vine Leaves Turning Red

Note: Black-Eyed Susan vines typically do not exhibit red leaves. Red leaves may indicate stress, disease, or nutrient issues.

Possible Causes:

  1. Stress: Environmental stressors, such as extreme temperatures or water issues.
  2. Nutrient Deficiency: Lack of essential nutrients can cause leaf discoloration.
  3. Disease: Fungal or bacterial infections may lead to red discoloration.


  • Address underlying stress factors.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer to correct nutrient deficiencies.
  • Treat any identified diseases with appropriate measures.

Black-Eyed Susan Vine Leaves Turning White

Note: White leaves are uncommon for Black-Eyed Susan vines. White discoloration may indicate severe stress or disease.

Possible Causes:

  1. Severe Stress: Extreme environmental conditions causing leaf bleaching.
  2. Disease: Severe fungal or viral infections can lead to white discoloration.


  • Mitigate stress factors and provide optimal growing conditions.
  • Treat identified diseases with suitable fungicides or antiviral measures.

Additional Information

This section provides supplementary details about the Black-Eyed Susan vine, including its botanical family, aliases, and a nod to its namesake:

  1. Botanical Family:

    • Belongs to the Scrophulariaceae family, showcasing its botanical lineage.
    • Understanding its family ties provides insights into its broader plant characteristics.
  2. Aliases:

    • Also recognized as the Clock Vine or the African Clock Vine, reflecting its unique visual appeal.
    • These aliases contribute to the vine’s charming and distinctive identity.
  3. Namesake:

    • Named after the black-eyed susan daisy due to its flowers’ resemblance.
    • This adds a layer of botanical history and curiosity to the plant.

By delving into this additional information, you gain a deeper appreciation for the Black-Eyed Susan vine’s botanical context and cultural significance.

Frequently Asked Questions about Black-Eyed Susan Vines

  1. Are black-eyed Susan vines perennial?

    Black-Eyed Susan vines are tender perennials, persisting for several years in climates protected from frost. In colder regions where temperatures drop below freezing, they are commonly grown as annuals.

  2. How can I encourage my black-eyed Susan vine to bloom?

    To promote abundant blooms in your Black-Eyed Susan vine, follow these tips:

    • Ample Sunlight: Ensure the vine receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
    • Well-Draining Soil: Prevent waterlogged roots by using well-draining soil to avoid hindering nutrient uptake and flowering.
    • Regular Fertilization: Apply a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 weeks to provide essential nutrients for healthy growth and flowering.
    • Deadheading: Remove spent flowers regularly to redirect the plant’s energy towards producing new blooms.
  3. Why is it named Black-Eyed Susan vine?

    The Black-Eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) earned its name due to its striking resemblance to the Black-Eyed Susan daisy (Rudbeckia hirta). Both flowers feature a central disk of contrasting color, resembling a black eye surrounded by colorful petals.

  4. Do hummingbirds like black-eyed Susan vine?

    Yes, hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Black-Eyed Susan vines. The tubular shape of the flowers suits their feeding behavior, and the vibrant colors catch their attention, playing a vital role in pollination.

  5. Can black-eyed Susan vines survive winter?

    Black-Eyed Susan vines are not frost-hardy and are typically grown as annuals in colder climates, discarding them after the first frost. In frost-free regions, with proper winter care, they can survive as tender perennials.

  6. Does black-eyed Susan vine spread?

    Black-Eyed Susan vines are moderately invasive. They spread through seeds and can establish new plants. Trailing stems can root where they touch the ground. While not highly invasive, monitoring their growth is crucial to prevent overwhelming other plants.

  7. Is black-eyed Susan vine poisonous to dogs?

    According to the ASPCA, Black-Eyed Susan vines are not considered toxic to dogs. However, ingesting plant material can cause mild gastrointestinal upset. If consumption is suspected, consult a veterinarian.

  8. Do black-eyed Susan vines prefer sun or shade?

    Black-Eyed Susan vines thrive in full sun, requiring at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth and flowering. While they tolerate some partial shade, especially in hotter climates, they truly prefer sun-drenched locations.


In conclusion, the Black-Eyed Susan vine stands as a testament to the beauty and resilience of tropical flora. This comprehensive care guide has equipped you with the knowledge to plant, nurture, and propagate this vibrant vine successfully. Whether adorning trellises, serving as groundcover, or thriving in containers, the Black-Eyed Susan vine brings a touch of the exotic to any garden. By following the outlined steps and incorporating the provided tips, you’re on your way to cultivating a flourishing and visually stunning Black-Eyed Susan vine. Enjoy the process of growing and nurturing this remarkable plant, and let its vibrant blooms bring joy to your outdoor space.

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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