Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’. Photo by: Hemerocallis / Shutterstock.

Morning glory vines bring old-fashioned charm and a quaint cottage feeling to any garden. However, if you don’t have time to take care of an aggressively seeding plant, you might want to think twice about introducing them into your garden, as they can get out of hand in a hurry. If you have a space where they can run wild over a fence, pergola or arbor, they will make quick cover of it. Their funnel or tubular-shaped flowers open in the morning and close in the afternoon. If you’re up for the challenge, here’s more information on growing morning glory vines.

On this page: The Basics | Planting Instructions | Care | Pictures | Design Tips

MORNING GLORY BASICS

Zones:

Annual in areas that get below 45 F, but can still reseed and come back year after year on their own; perennial in warmer, more tropical climates.

Height/Spread:

6 to 12 feet, or more depending on variety.

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

June to October

Color:

Varieties available in purple, blue, red, white, pink and bi-colored.

Toxicity:

Morning glory seeds are highly toxic if ingested.

Are morning glory vines invasive?

Morning glories are often mistaken for their aggressive and invasive cousin, field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), also called creeping Jenny, but they are two different species. Morning glories are from the family Ipomoea and, yes, can also be hard to handle and stubborn. They grow quite rapidly and will aggressively self-seed if not prevented by cutting back and removing seed pods, and some varieties have been declared invasive in certain areas. Field bindweed, on the other hand, sends out deep roots that make it nearly impossible to get rid of. These deep roots also allow it to overwinter in colder climates to return again and again. Field bindweed blooms in white or pink flowers and usually has smaller leaves than morning glory.

PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS

When to plant:

Morning glories are easily grown from seed and can be started indoors four to six weeks before the last spring frost. If sown directly into the garden, plant after any threat of frost and once the ground has warmed up to 64 F.

Where to plant:

Pick a site that gets plenty of sun. They will tolerate some very light shade, but bloom their best in full sun. Because of their rapid growth, choose a location that will allow for its mature size. Morning glories will readily self-seed if allowed, so make sure they are in an area that is accessible for cutting back spent blooms before they go to seed or an area where self-seeding is acceptable. Be considerate of neighboring yards and where the seeds might fall.

How to plant:

If planting from seed, file seeds to break the outer shell and soak for 24 hours prior to planting to help with germination. Cover lightly with one-quarter to one-half inch of soil and water thoroughly. When transplanting, be careful of the roots, as they don’t like being disturbed. Water deeply for several days after transplanting to help the roots get established in their new home. Helpful hint: If starting from seed, use peat or other disintegrating pots that can be planted directly in the soil to lessen the stress on the root system.

Other:

Morning glories grow quite rapidly once established, up to 12 feet or more in one season.

MORNING GLORY CARE

Pruning:

No pruning is required; but to prevent unwanted self-seeding, old flowers should be thoroughly removed before they form seedpods.

Soil:

Morning glories prefer moderately fertile, well-drained soil that is kept consistently moist until the plant is well established. Adult plants aren’t as picky about their soil and can tolerate poor, dry conditions.

Amendments & Fertilizer:

Although usually not necessary, you can apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly during growing season. Be careful not to fertilize too much as this can produce more foliage than flowers.

Watering:

Water freely during growing season and once or twice a week during dry periods; but again, established plants can tolerate drier conditions. Cut back watering in winter.

Propagation:

Softwood cuttings of perennial species can be rooted in spring or summer. Harvest mature seeds in the fall.

Diseases and Pests:

Morning glory vines are pretty sturdy and not generally bothered by disease or pests, but can occasionally be susceptible to white blister, rust, fungal leaf spot, stem rot and wilt. They can also be bothered by aphids, leaf miner, spider mites and caterpillars.

Other:

Although the seeds are poisonous, deer will eat morning glory leaves and vines.

MORNING GLORY PICTURES

All morning glory vines should be grown with care and you should check for locally invasive species. Here are a few of the more widely acceptable types:

Swipe to view slides

Photo by: Hemerocallis / Shutterstock.

Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’

Zones: Annual, perennial in zones 9-11 or areas over 45 F

Height/Spread: To 12 feet tall, 3 to 6 feet wide

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Summer, year-round in tropics

Color: Blue-purple flower with white throat, yellow center

Fast growing, twining climber with a classic morning glory look.
Prohibited in Arizona and Arkansas.

Photo by: I_Fleurs / Shutterstock.

Ipomoea tricolor ‘Flying Saucers’

Zones: Annual, perennial in zones 9-11 or areas over 45 F

Height/Spread: To 12 feet tall, 3 to 6 feet wide

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Summer, year-round in tropics

Color: Silvery white, streaked with blue

One of the more popular varieties due to its variegated flower, it produces large saucer-shaped blooms.

Photo by: Jjaikla / Shutterstock.

Ipomoea pes-caprae
Beach morning glory, railroad vine, bayhops

Zones: Annual, perennial in zones 9-11

Height/Spread: Ground cover 16 inches high and can spread over 30 feet

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Late summer

Color: Pink petals with a darker center

Tolerant of sandy soil, salty air and water. Found along southern beaches from Texas to Florida and Georgia. Fast growing ground cover with evergreen leaves.

Photo by: Lucia Barabino / Pixabay.com.

Ipomoea cairica
Mile-a-minute vine, Messina creeper, Cairo morning glory

Zones: Annual, perennial in zones 9-11

Height/Spread: 8 to 10 feet

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Summer, year-round in tropical climates

Color: Purple

Noted as invasive in some areas, check locally before planting.

Photo by: Carol Cloud Bailey / Millette Photomedia.

Convolvulus sabatius
Ground morning glory

Zones: Perennial in zones 9-11 or areas over 20 F

Height/Spread: Groundcover 1 foot tall and spreads 3 feet in diameter

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Spring through fall, year-round in mild winter regions

Color: Lavender-blue

Forms a mat of green leaves with funnel-shaped flowers.

Photo by: Sari ONeal / Shutterstock.

Ipomoea xmultifida (I. sloteri)
Cardinal climber

Zones: Annual, perennial in zones 9-11 or areas over 45 F

Height/Spread: 6 to 12 feet tall, 1 to 2 feet wide

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Summer

Color: Bright red

A favorite of hummingbirds, with bright red tubular flowers and deeply cut foliage.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN TIPS

  • Morning glory vines will quickly cover trellises, pergolas, arches and fences.
  • Use them to create a colorful wall or to cover an unsightly area.
  • Fashion a living fence, porch or deck railing.
  • Plant vines in containers with a supporting trellis.
  • Drape out of a hanging basket; they will also twine up the hangers.
  • Grow responsibly in areas where reseeding is acceptable.
  • Since some varieties are considered invasive in certain areas, check locally before planting.

RELATED:
Flowering Vines That Go Beyond the Norm
16 Surprisingly Drought-Tolerant Plants
21 Easiest Flowers for Beginners

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