I took this photo of a moon flower last week, before our first freeze hit, so the foliage on this moon flower is a bit bedraggled now, though it is still blooming. Moon flower (Ipomoea alba) has always been a lust plant for me. There are plenty of plants that do not grow well in Minnesota, but for some reason, it has long irked me that moon flower resisted all my attempts to grow it.
My interest may have stemmed from its white blooms, which brighten any garden, or its climbing habit—it is said to grow 20 foot vines in some climates. It could also be that moon flowers seemed mysterious and a reminder of an older time. I also could not understand why a plant in the same family as morning glories, which overrun my garden like weeds, would not grow.
This year, I bought moon flower seeds from Baker’s Creek (Ipmoea alba) and started them indoors. Then, carefully transplanted the seedlings outside later in the spring, planting a few seeds in the same area, just in case. The site is near the front door, so I could keep an eye on them when watering the pots out front. The extra care paid off and the vines have been flowering (usually just one bloom at a time) for the last few weeks.
True to their name, these plants open up overnight. They bloom a day or two, then fade — just like summer itself.
Moonflowers are beautiful and I’m always promising to plant them – but I never get beyond morning glories. Maybe next year.
Do your moon flowers have a large egg shaped prickly pod? I purchased 4 green prickly pods at a local church festival, they were labeled moon flowers. I thought they would look good in dried flower arrangements, but are they truly moon flowers?
Mary Schier says
I haven’t noticed any pods on them. Moon flower is the common name, and it’s not unusual for two different plants to have the same common name — confusing, but not unusual.