How to Grow Morning Glory Flowers

morning glory flowers

CC Flickr photo courtesy of photofarmer.

Morning Glory is a popular name that encompasses over a thousand different flowering species. These flowers are commonly used to decorate walls and fences due to the fact that they grow as vines with funnel-shaped flowers in white, red, blue, purple, and yellow colors. Coveted for their very rapid growth and the ease of care, morning glories can grow 15-20 feet tall in less than one season.

Growing Requirements for Morning Glory Flowers

The seed coating on morning glory seeds is very thick and tough. Before planting they should be soaked in water for one full night in order to soften the seed and allowing for easy germination. The seeds should be planted in a very sunny spot and near a wall or trellis for vertical support.

Because morning glories grow very fast and big, they are very sensitive to crowding. They should be planted in prepared soil (fertilized) one-half inch deep and at least one foot apart. Morning glories need the room to spread up and out.

The seeds should be planted around spring to early summer. They prefer warm to hot temperatures and as much sunlight as possible. It should be noted that morning glories cannot survive transplanting.

Taking Care of Morning Glory Flowers

Morning glory is called such because of a very distinctive feature. The flowers open only in the presence of sunlight and close at night. For maximum growth the plant should have full sunlight. Also, they should be fertilized at least once a month so that the plant always has the nutrients it needs to grow.

These plants are somewhat hardy, meaning they can pretty much grow on their own and don’t need extensive care. They only need to be watered once to twice a week depending on how dry the season is. Furthermore the plant will survive light frosts but not deep freezes.

History of Morning Glories

The first morning glory appeared in China before spreading to Japan and then to almost all tropical and temperate climates. The ancient Chinese used the plant for medicinal purposes. Other ancient cultures utilized the flower’s chemical properties in order to make latex and rubber materials. The morning glory quickly became a decorative flower as well, because of its ability to provide shade where there previously was none.

The flower can also be used in Asian culinary dishes and makes numerous appearances in old and modern literature. Victorian writers were particularly fascinated with it, using it to represent ‘love in vain’.

Morning Glory Flowers: Toxicity and Diseases

Gardeners with children and pets should be particularly careful with morning glory flowers and seeds because they do have some toxic properties. If ingested they can cause hallucinations, indigestion, a stupor, and if ingested in large quantities can even cause a coma.

Morning glories are not normally affected by insects or diseases. However, if a problem does occur basic insecticides and fungicides are usually enough to treat the plant.

More Information on Morning Glories

Details of the growing process can be found at Gardener’s Net.

Details of the chemical properties can be found on the MIT website.

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