Morning glory vine forms twining vines with bell-shaped flowers, and its varieties have also become intertwined botanically under the name "morning glory." The name comes from the flowers, which last a single day. These rapidly growing vines are closely related to the sweet potato. Flowers are white, blue, pink, purple, red, and multicolored. There are even double forms. Because they're quick, easy, and dependably colorful, morning glory is the most popular annual vine.
Description of morning glory vine: The vines grow quickly to 10 feet or more only two months after seeds sprout. The leaves are heart-shaped, and the flowers are normally open from dawn to midmorning, but new varieties will stay open longer, especially on overcast days.
Growing morning glory vine: Requirements are undemanding. Morning glories will thrive in full sun in any soil, especially if it is not too fertile or too moist. Sow the seeds outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. Provide support. Because they grow by twining, they need extra help if planted around large posts. Plant morning glory 8 to 12 inches apart.
Propagating morning glory vine: Start new vines from seed. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting to speed germination. In the North, earlier bloom can be achieved by starting indoors in peat pots 4 to 6 weeks before planting out. Germination takes 5 to 7 days at 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Transplant the peat pots to the garden -- pot and all -- without disturbing the roots.
Uses for morning glory vine: Morning glories are splendid for enhancing fences or for covering up eyesores. They will rapidly cover fences, arches, pergolas, and trellises or can be made into their own garden feature with stakes and twine. They don't have to grow up. They're just as effective as trailers from hanging baskets and window boxes.
Morning glory vine related species: Moon flower (Ipomoea alba) has large, fragrant, white flowers that open in the evening and close before midday. Convovulus tricolor, known as "dwarf morning glory," forms bushy plants with pink, blue, purple, and rose flowers. Blue Ensign is a selection with blue flowers and contrasting yellow and white centers. Evolvulus glomeratus is a prostrate plant, 10 to 15 inches in diameter, with many small, morning glory-like flowers in bright blue. Blue Bird is another species.
Morning glory vine related varieties: Most famous is Heavenly Blue for refreshing azure color. Scarlet Star has a strong pattern of red and white. Pearly Gates has large, white flowers. Early Call Mixture has white, pink, crimson, lavender, blue, and violet flowers. The unique Mt. Fuji Mix contains a range of colors and is outlined and striped with white.
Scientific name of morning glory vine: Ipomoea nil, purpurea, tricolor