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Growing Moonflowers

Get Fascinated By Mysterious, Fragrant Nocturnal Bloomers

by Frances Santos

Growing MoonflowersSo you want an addition to your garden that is quite unique and interesting? Well, moonflowers (ipomea alba) will surely fascinate you! Why so? It’s because unlike most blooms, moonflowers blossom in the evening, perfect for late night strollers.

You will surely love it when a moonflowers’ sweet, lemony scent welcomes you as you return home from a hard day’s work. After sunset, their huge, fragrant flowers open quickly and glow through the night in the moonlight. They close their flowers once touched by the morning sun.

Moonflowers are usually perennial in their natural tropical habitat, but used as annuals in cooler regions. They have huge 4 to 6 inch trumpet-shaped flowers that come in various shades of pink, white and off-white.

Moonflowers have twining vines with large, blue-green and smooth-textured leaves. These prolific climbers can grow to height of about 12 to 18 feet in one year. Let Moonflowers beautify and fill your patios and sidewalks with aromatic scent!

In case you’re wondering, moonflowers are related to morning glories. Both have beautiful, heart-shaped petals, however, these two have opposite schedule. Now listen. Moonflowers are attractive and fragrant blooms, but be cautious when handling their seeds. Moonflowers seeds are poisonous when ingested.

Propagating Moonflowers

Moonflowers are propagated from seeds. You may sow the seeds directly into your garden in the spring or early fall once all the danger of frost is over. You can also start the seeds indoors 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost date in your region. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Moonflowers have a thick husk/overcoat so it is recommended to chip the seeds before planting. This will encourage germination. Use a metal file or sharp knife in removing the husk. Soak the seeds in warm water and let them stand overnight.
  2. Choose a well-lit location to plant the moonflowers as they require full sun. Moreover, since Moonflowers are a climbing vine, select an area where they can freely climb on such as a floral wire, a lamp post or porch rail.
  3. Sow the seeds about 1/2 inch deep and lightly cover with soil. Water the seeds carefully so as not to displace the seeds. Keep the soil moist. The seedlings should emerge in 7 to 14 days.
  4. Thin or space the seedlings to 12-inches apart once they are large enough to handle.

Growing Moonflowers

Although moonflower plants are nocturnal bloomers, they love full sun. They do not require too much attention. In fact, Moonflowers tolerate poor and dry soils so you can plant them in areas where most plants won’t grow. Water them regularly but do not overwater.

Mulching around the plants is a good idea because this keeps the weeds down besides maintaining a neat appearance for your Moonflowers. You may feed the plants with fertilizer once a month, but in most cases, this is not needed. Now, is deadheading necessary? Moonflowers self-sow freely so if you do not want extra seedlings on the neighboring areas next season, remove spent blooms.

Moonflower plants may tolerate the first light frost in your area with a little damage. But generally speaking, they are susceptible to frost and won’t survive hard frost.