Growing and Saving the Seed of Moonflower
Latin name Ipomea alba is an annual flower vine that is quick growing and very frost sensitive. It is aptly named for the flower's habit of opening after sundown and closing at sunrise, making it an excellent nighttime garden flower. The blooms are extra large, saucer shaped, and brilliant white. Moonflower is perfect for growing up a trellis. Southern growers should note that this plant has the potential to become weedy in frost-free/low-frost areas.
Native to subtropical and tropical regions within North and South America. This night-blooming member of the morning glory family has a fascinating ancient history. The sulphur from these plants was intentionally combined with latex from the rubber tree to create a rubber-like substance that was shaped into a ball and used for games and play. This vulcanization technique predates Charles Goodyear's process by 3,000 years!
- Ornamental. Great to cover a fence, wall, trellis, or any vertical structure!
- Use in beds, borders, containers, and cottage gardens.
- Visited by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
- Nightime gardens.
- Nick seed coat and soak seeds in warm water overnight to speed germination.
- Seeds germinate in 4-7 days.
- Start indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost or direct seed outdoors after all chance of frost has passed.
- Ideal germination temperature is 65-85 F.
- Plants require full sun.
- Tolerant of a wide range of soil, they prefer well- drained loamy soil to sandy.
- Space plants 6 inches apart and thin to 12 inches apart.
- Plant in a protected area, away from heavy winds.
- Provide a sturdy trellis as these plants will reach from 6 to 15 feet in ideal conditions!
- Avoid wet foliage and overhead watering to prevent rust and fungal/rot issues.
- Seed saving is quite easy. When the flowers fade, they leave behind large seed capsules containing the large, black seeds.
- Allow seeds to dry in a warm area out of direct sunlight for 7 days.
- Store seeds in a cool, dark, dry place over the winter.
- Remember to nick and soak your seeds the night before planting in the spring!.