By Kate Torpie, Garden Guides Contributor
About Morning Glories
Ipomoea is the name for the huge family more commonly known as Morning Glories. These include perennials, biennials and annuals. They range in color from pink to white to deep blue. They grow in vines and bushes. Sounds confusing? Don't worry. No matter what variety you pick, they have the same general requirements. And their showy flowers are a delightful choice.
The most popular morning glories grow as vines. They will therefore need some kind of support as well as full sun, particularly in the morning hours. Planting them right next to a wall may block the sun. The best solution is to plant them next to a fence, if possible. For the most part, morning glories grow easily from seed, but you can also transplant a vine that has begun to grow. Till the soil until it is soft and crumbly. Add a spade-full of compost.
Sow morning glory seeds about 1 week after the last frost. If you are planting seeds, you need to prepare the seeds first. Since they have a hard, outer seed-coat, soak the seeds in warm water for about 2 hours. Then, make half-inch holes (use your finger) in the spot you chose. Place 1 seed in each hole, and each seed about 6 inches apart. Once 1 plant starts to outgrow the others, take the other ones out. Morning glories will grow quickly, and they need all the room they can get. If you are transplanting, make sure the vine is as deep into the soil as it was before.
As the vine starts to grow, you may want to train it. Twist it around its support, very gently. Water the morning glory regularly, but be careful to avoid overwatering. You should have blooms from early summer until early winter. The flowers will bloom, as the name indicates, in the morning.
Choosing a Variety
Choosing a type of morning glory is highly dependent on personal preferences. A popular choice is Heavenly Blue, which has deep cobalt-periwinkle blossoms. Grandpa Ott's are a deep eggplant color. You can also buy the seeds in mixed bags. This is a great idea if you are using the vine for a border: the colors of various plants will mix together and look just incredible.
Some species are hallucinogens. This includes the ever-popular Heavenly Blue, as well as Pearly Gates, Flying Saucers and Wedding Bells. Some call this a special feature. But it is also a warning to keep children and animals away from the seeds and plants.