Let's talk Morning Glories for no other reason than because we can. Okay, perhaps there is another reason, but I'll get to that in a minute.
I post this at the risk of sending shivers up Alexandra Heeps' spine. She told us once in a guest post about her fear of this normally innocuous flowering vine, but as this now-deleted helium article-- it was written in first person, you see. Eek!-- has to be of use to someone, I'll put it here.
The Morning Glory gets its name because it blooms in the early morning
and the flowers close up and fade by the time the sun is high in the
sky. Botanically known as Ipomoea, Morning Glory encompasses many
decorative vines and even the sweet potato.
When I think of Morning
Glories I recall my friend who read the complicated directions on the
back of a seed pack. She said "The heck with that!" threw them down in
disgust and frustration, then forgot about them only to have them grow,
with no help from her, into a mass of tangled vines with beautiful,
multi-colored trumpet-shaped blossoms and pretty heart-shaped leaves.
Needless to say, she found out about the experts' keen ability to make
matters such as the simple planting of seeds into something far more
Morning Glory vines are annuals with a propensity for self-sowing and
anything with that ability can't be very tough to grow, now can it? So,
should you disregard the instructions on the back of the seed pack? Yes
and no. No, you don't have to sit there with a nail file or pen knife
and nick the seed coat of each and every one of those tiny seeds, but yes,
you should do something to soften that seed coat. I prefer the much
easier technique of just letting the seeds soak in warm water overnight.
This isn't necessary of course. I just showed you that throwing them
down in a reckless manner will accomplish the same thing. But if you
want the seeds to germinate quickly as I do it's a good idea.
Because of my relatively short growing season and the fact I adore
Morning Glories and want them around for as long a time as possible, I
therefore want them growing quickly so the soaking method works great
for me. It's hardly a burden to place the seeds in a recycled yogurt cup
with a bit of warm water and allow them to sit for a few hours then
plant them about a half inch deep in regular garden soil. The softened
seed coat allows them easy access to the moisture in the soil around
them, they germinate swiftly and start growing like weeds. They require
very little care after that. Casual feeding and regular watering will
encourage blooms. They don't like to be disturbed after planting so sow
them where you want them.
If that still seems like too much trouble (you are a lazy one, aren't
you?) Then simply plant the Morning Glory seeds in the autumn after your
temperatures have cooled considerably about the time of your first few
hard frosts and leave them to the elements. That seed coat will soften
all by itself and in spring they will obligingly sprout and grow on
their own perhaps surprising you. By then you may have forgotten all
about them. I like surprises like that and often give myself some just
for the thrill.
I call the Morning Glory an annual but in truth there are perennials
amongst the genus though mostly these grow in temperate areas. Elsewhere they
are exclusively grown as annuals. This plant makes a beautiful display
and can quickly cover a trellis, fence or arbor.
Morning Glory Vines come in many colors though the preferred hue is the
sky-blue color. "Heavenly Blue" is the most popular and wildly available
of the true Morning Glory Blues. A warning to you if you want to retain
the blue colored Morning Glory you may have to buy fresh seeds every
year instead of relying on them to self-sow. When grown with Morning
Glories of other colors the seeds resulting will be of mixed colors. Not
that it's a big problem. They are all beautiful after all.
Other cultivars to try are the red "Scarlet O'Hara" and "Blue Star"
which is a bi-color with pale pink stripes forming a star on each pale
lavender- blue flower. "Carmen" comes in a burgundy bloom with a white
throat. When grown intertwined with the Moonflower the effect is
stunning and you get almost continuous blooming as one closes up just as
the other opens. Perfect!
There are many others to choose from. Some are bi-colored and even
tri-colored coming in single and double flower forms. I suggest you look
through a Seymore Select Seeds mail order catalog for more varieties.
You can readily find mixed seed packs in white, pink, light purple, red
and blue just about anywhere but make sure you get to the store on the
earliest spring day as the Morning Glory seeds tend to be the ones to be
sold out sooner than any other. If you intend to collect the seeds make
certain you pick them when the papery husks are dry to the touch. The
seeds will easily fall away if left in place but collecting them gives
you the control so they can grow where you want them instead of where
Mother Nature allows them.
The Morning Glories are popular plants used to add height to a garden
when planted on a lamp post, fence or even tangled with other vines or
shrubs. They can also be useful as ground covers or in hanging baskets.
No matter how you put them to use you'll love them as do all the
butterflies, honey bees and Hummingbirds which will frequent them.
Okay, Alex, you can let go of Tom's hand now. The worst is over.