The moonflower (Ipomoea alba), a perennial tropical native, is grown as an annual in northern regions. This high-climbing relative of the morning glory blooms by the light of the moon and emits a heavenly scent. Pollinated by moths, the moonflower plant can grow up to 15 feet high and produces wide, delicate blooms in pale shades of white and pink. Easily propagated by harvesting the seeds, the lush foliage and romantic blossoms of the moonflower will bring beauty to any trellis or fence for years to come.
Allow the moonflower to bloom. Blooms open in late afternoon and bloom throughout the evening. They are produced sporadically throughout the growing season.
Remove the seedpod from the faded bloom, either after the flower dies off or once the pod has dried on the stem.
Allow the seedpod to dry completely, then gently cut it open to remove the moonflower seeds.
Store moonflower seeds in an airtight plastic storage bag once they have dried. Keep seeds in a cool, dry location without direct light until ready to plant.
Plant the right type of morning glory to avoid disruptive, weedy perennial growth. Tropical, annual morning glory varieties Ipomoea tricolor and Conovulus tricolor live from the last spring frost to the first fall frost in all areas. Plant morning glory seeds or seedlings in midspring for bright, warm starts.
Site and Soil
Morning glories won't grow or bloom without the right sun, warmth and soil. Plant them in full sunshine, with a wall or trellis for growing. Mix organic compost into planting soil for a combination of 30 percent compost and 70 percent natural soil, to give morning glories a loose, moist, quick-draining foundation. Don't add more compost than necessary, as morning glories don't require overly fertile soil.
The University of Arkansas website notes that morning glories restrict their blooms in rich, acidic soil, and recommends non-nitrogen fertilizer for these plants. Give morning glories granular 5-10-10 fertilizer at planting for quick growth, and use super phosphate fertilizer to encourage blooming. Follow manufacturer direction in regard to fertilizer application. Don't fertilize these plants unless they stop blooming.
Morning glories enjoy moist soil, but flower best when slightly dry. Water them with 2 inches of water every week. If your morning glory vine produces vegetative growth and no flowers, restrict your waterings to every other week and allow drying in between. Deadhead the vine consistently to keep the flowers from going to seed and spreading.
Fill a bowl with warm tap water. Soak seeds in the water overnight the day before you plan to plant them.
Remove seeds from water and lightly nick the seed coating with a knife. Nick the outer seed coat so the white underlying area is just visible. Alternatively, scuff the seeds with a file or sandpaper to reveal the white inner coat.
Sow seeds directly into the planting bed outdoors. Plant in a well-drained area in full sun.
Space seeds 12 inches apart near a support structure such as a trellis. Water well at planting. Germination occurs in 7 to 14 days.
Water during extended dry periods; otherwise no further care is needed for the morning glory vines to thrive.
Plant morning glory seeds after the last frost has passed in your area. They prefer full sun and should be planted 1/2 to 1 inch deep.
Rub the morning glory seeds with fine sandpaper until the seed's surface appears rough and scratched to help water penetrate the hard seed coat that otherwise repels water.
Soak the seeds in a container of water for 24 hours.
Prepare a gardening site that has well-drained soil in full sun. Break up the soil with a spade to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Mix in 3 to 4 inches of compost to condition the soil and improve drainage.
Plant the morning glory seeds. Bury two seeds at each spot, sinking the seed 1/2 of an inch below the soil surface. Separate the seeds by 5 inches.
Water the planting twice twice daily to keep the area consistently moist. Pull out one of the two seedlings, leaving behind the tallest and strongest one after the seedlings are 4 to 6 inches tall.
Soak your morning glory seeds no more than 24 hours before planting them.
Take a sharp knife and nick the edge of the morning glory seed coat.
Fill a jar or bowl with warm water, and then add the morning glory seeds.
Allow the seeds to soak for 24 hours before planting them in the ground or pots.