How to Care for Morning Glories

Morning glories covering a deck railing image by Kristina Murphy

Overview

Morning glories, named for their early-morning to midday flower blooms, may grow and spread rapidly with very little care. Their vines of heart-shaped leaves attach to trellises, fences and walls as they climb to 10 feet or more in height, yet they can also trail from pots and planters. The annual morning glory vine thrives in full sun and can grow in most soil types---you may even see them growing out of parking lot cracks. Their variety, beautiful growth and ease of care make them an ideal addition to natural outdoor décor.

Seedling Care

Step 1

Soak morning glory seeds in water for 24 hours to soften their outer layer before planting. This is not required, but it may quicken germination.

Step 2

Dig a 1/4"- to 1/2"-deep trench into your soil with a hand trowel, and sow the seeds 6" to 12" apart. You can plant seeds from spring through late summer, but do so after the last threat of frost in spring.

Step 3

Place a stake or piece of trellis into the soil approximately 2" to 5" behind the planted seeds if they have nothing to attach to and you wish for them to climb upward.

Step 4

Water the soil lightly each day for the first week, then once or twice weekly if it has not rained. You should see sprouts within 1 to 2 weeks of planting.

Established Plants

Step 1

Water your established morning glories once weekly when it does not rain. Water them twice weekly during hot, dry weather.

Step 2

Harvest their brown, dried pods as you see them late in the season. Remove the inner pod seeds and store them in a sealed container for re-planting in another location. When left on the plant, the seeds will naturally scatter and re-seed for the next year's growth.

Step 3

Remove dead vines by hand or with gardening shears once frost has killed them. Bag them in plastic for disposal to prevent re-seeding.

Tips and Warnings

  • Morning glory seeds contain Lysergic Acid Amide (LSA), which is a hallucinogen similar to LSD and can cause serious illness when ingested. Keep seeds away from pets and children. This vine can spread into undesirable locations such as vegetable gardens, so you may need to manually remove new growth from these areas as it sprouts from the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Morning glory seeds
  • Hand trowel
  • Stake or trellis (optional)
  • Water
  • Gardening shears (optional)

References

  • Wintersown.org: Saving Seeds

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Gardener's Corner
Keywords: morning glories, morning glory vine, morning glory seeds

About this Author

Krissi Maarx is a freelance writer who has written Web content since 2006. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in human services, with studies focusing on holistic healing, mental health care and medicinal botany. As a pet groomer, too, Maarx writes many dog-related articles for print and the Web.

Photo by: Kristina Murphy