How to Grow Morning Glory & Care Guide

Flowering morning glories, also known as “purple coneflowers” (Ipomoea purpurea) or “purple foxgloves” (Convolvulus purpureus), are a familiar sight in many gardens.

While some types of these fast-growing vining plants are considered harmful weeds in certain regions, when kept in check they may be beautiful complements to a garden.

All morning glory plants have heart-shaped leaves and produce white, red, blue, purple, or yellow flowers in a funnel form.

The flowers blossom in the morning and close in the afternoon from May to September.

Though most varieties only live for one season, those that thrive in warmer climates can reseed themselves or return year after year.

Morning Glory Species and Varieties

In addition to cultivars of the common morning glory, there are other Ipomea species with a similar appeal:

  • I. purpurea ‘Star of Yelta’: Deep purple blooms with dark red stars and small white throats
  • I. purpurea ‘Kniola’s Black’: Another purple-flowered cultivar but with blooms even darker than those of ‘Star of Yelta’
  • I. tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’: A popular cultivar with large azure flowers and heart-shaped leaves
  • I. alba: Also called moonflower or belle de nuit; a night-blooming species with 6-inch-wide white flowers
  • Ipomoea x multifida: Known as the cardinal climber; a hybrid with relatively small but deep red flowers resembling morning glory blooms

How to Grow Morning Glory Flowers

Morning glories are quite simple to cultivate. If you give them a trellis or hang them in a basket, they thrive in small spaces.

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Morning glories thrive in bright sunlight but can also survive in partial shade.

The plants are also renowned for their ability to thrive in arid conditions.

In fact, the vine is frequently spotted growing in roadside medians, fence row edges, and other marginal or disturbed areas.

Although the plant may survive in less-than-ideal conditions, it does best in moist but not soggy, well-drained soil.

When to Plant Morning Glories

Once the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up, morning glory seeds can be put straight in the garden to begin growing plants.

Four to six weeks before the last frost in your location, start the seeds inside.

The seeds of morning glories need to be soaked in water for a full night or nicked before they can be planted.

Plant the morning glory seeds about half an inch (1 cm) deep and 8 to 12 inches (15 to 31 cm) apart.

Once your plants have reached a height of about 6 inches (15 cm), you may wish to give the vine something to twine around for support.

Plants in hanging baskets can be allowed to overflow their borders.

Care of Morning Glory Plants

Morning glories require little attention once they’re established.

Actually, once established, they don’t need much in the way of maintenance.

Soil should be damp, not drenched. They need to be watered once or twice a week during dry spells.

Some plants in containers may need more water than usual, especially if you live in a warmer climate.

Simply remove spent blooms as they fade, or all the dead vines after the first fatal frost in the fall, to prevent reseeding and control undesirable spreading.

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How to Grow Morning Glory From Seed

It is recommended to start morning glory seeds indoors around four to six weeks before the final frost date, but this is not required.

The plant thrives when seeded outside. Direct seeding requires waiting until the soil has warmed to at least 64 degrees Fahrenheit and is workable.

Because of their thick seed coat, morning glory seeds benefit from being sacrificed in order to sprout more quickly.

Simply rub the seeds for a few seconds on coarse sandpaper, then immerse them in water for the night to remove any remaining grit. In the morning, they look fuller and more prepared to sprout.

Plant the seeds a quarter of an inch deep and a few inches apart. Morning glories can be planted in a row with a six-inch separation between them.

When planting a trellis, you can be less precise with your spacing. Soak the soil thoroughly and keep the seeds damp until they begin to grow.

Common Pests and Diseases

Leaf spot, stem rot, thread blight, and white blister are just some of the fungal problems that morning glory vines are susceptible to during periods of prolonged wetness.

Wildlife is a significant threat, as they can safely eat the morning glory leaves.

The lower vines are especially vulnerable to harm from herbivores like deer, rabbits, and groundhogs when the plants are young.

Fencing the bottom three to five feet of the vines will keep animals from eating your morning glories.

The climbing plants will cover the fence as they mature. At that stage, light browsing by animals shouldn’t be enough to completely destroy the plant.

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