Moonlight gardens create the illusion of paradise, especially when moonflowers are in bloom. These white climbers resemble the wild morning glory, but they bloom at dusk and radiate in the moonlight. Moonflowers climb to heights of 15 feet and produce an abundance of fragrant 6-inch blooms. The tender perennials must be grown as annuals in cool climates. Blooming in midsummer, moonflowers extend your joy of gardening into the wee hours of predawn.
Prepare the soil for moonflowers in an area that receives direct sun for at least six to eight hours a day.
Till the soil to a depth of 8 inches and amend with a 2- to 3-inch layer of well-rooted manure or compost. Mix it in well with the soil.
Erect a trellis or arbor before planting. Moonflowers require 10 feet or more for climbing. (See Resources for trellis ideas.)
Plant moonflower seeds in the spring once temperatures reach 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and all danger of frost has passed in your area.
Sow seedlings to a depth of 1/4 inch and cover with soil. Firm down with your hands to secure the seed and remove air pockets. Space 2 to 4 inches apart.
Water thoroughly to moisten the seeds. Keep soil moist until seedlings emerge in seven to 21 days, depending on weather conditions.
Thin the seedlings to 6 inches apart when they are 3 to 4 inches tall. Leave only the strongest seedlings.
Pinch out center leaves on new growth with your thumb and forefinger when seedlings are 4 inches high. This causes the plant to begin branching and results in dense foliage.
Fertilize once a month with water-soluble fertilizer designed for flowering plants.
Water deeply once a week to saturate the soil to the root level. Allow soil to dry before watering.