Morning Glories and Moonflowers

If you're looking for a quick way to cover an unattractive fence or perhaps to adorn a trellis or tool shed, an annual vine is the answer. There is outstanding potential packed into the seeds of summer vines such as hyacinth bean vine, cardinal vine, gourds and cypress vine. 

Two of my all time favorite annual vines are morning glory and its nocturnal cousin moonflower vine.  Their size, growth rate and flower power make them spectacular additions to the summer garden. They can grow twenty to thirty feet in a single season, which makes them ideal for quickly spreading blooms across fences, over arbors, or up simple teepees made of three or four tall poles. They are the perfect solution for covering an area while you wait for a perennial vine or climbing rose to mature. 

Morning Glory Heavenly Blue The morning glory has 6 to 8 inch heart shaped leaves and showy trumpet blooms that open as the sun rises.  The varieties ‘Heavenly Blue’, ‘Grandpa Ott’ and ‘Milky Way’ are all worthy of a spot in your garden.

While the morning glory, as its name implies, is perky in the morning the moonflower vine picks up its pace in the evening.  By sunset the vine covers itself with large, white, fragrant blossoms. The flowers begin to fade at dawn, but by dusk, they are opening again. 

Both morning glories and moonflowers are easy to grow from seed.  The outer coating is hard, so soak the seeds overnight in water before planting to help with germination. The seeds can be direct sown in the garden after the last frost date in your area. Choose a site where the soil is not too rich. If it is too fertile, the seeds will produce lots of vines, but few blooms.  Give them plenty of sunshine and these vines will reward you with abundant blooms until the first hard freeze in autumn.

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