Image by Rosana Prada
By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
Morning glory flowers (Ipomoea purpurea or Convolvulus purpureus) are a common sight in many landscapes and may be found in any number of species within the Calystegia, Convolvulus, Ipomoea, Merremia and Rivea genera. While some varieties are described as noxious weed in some areas, the fast-growing vining plants can also make lovely additions to the garden if kept in check.
All morning glory plants produce attractive funnel-shaped blossoms of various shades like white, red, blue, purple and yellow with heart-shaped leaves. Blooming usually occurs anywhere from May through September, opening in the morning and closing in the afternoon. Most types are annual, though in some warmer regions they will come back yearly or may re-seed themselves in almost any zone they grow in.
How to Grow Morning Glory Flowers
Growing morning glories is easy. They’re great for containers when provided with a trellis or placed in a hanging basket.
Morning glories prefer full sun but will tolerate very light shade.
The plants are also well known for their tolerance to poor, dry soils. In fact, the plant can easily establish itself in any slightly disturbed area, including garden edges, fence rows and roadsides where the vine is commonly seen growing. Even with the plant’s tolerance of poor soil, it actually prefers well-draining soil that is moist, but not soggy.
When to Plant Morning Glories
Morning glory plants are easily started by seeds sown directly in the garden after the threat of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. Indoors, the seeds should be started about 4-6 weeks before the last frost in your area.
Since morning glories have relatively hard seed coats, you should soak the seeds in water overnight or nick them before sowing. Sow the seeds of morning glory about ½ inch deep and give them about 8- to 12-inch spacing.
Once plants have reached about six inches or so in height, you may want to provide some type of support for the vine to twine around. Those planted in hanging baskets can simply be left to spill over the container’s edge.
Care of Morning Glory Plants
The care of morning glory plants is also easy. In fact, once established they require little attention.
Ideally, the soil should be moist, but not wet. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Container plants may require additional watering, especially in warmer regions.
To reduce re-seeding and control unwanted spreading, simply remove spent blooms as they fade or all the dead vines after the first killing frost/freeze in fall.