Morning Glory Vines: Favorite Varieties

Morning Glory Varieties

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Most of my favorite flowering vines are in the plant family Ipomoea. The most common member of this family is the morning glory, though there are about 300 more plants, including the sweet potato, and many of them are twining climbers.

It will be a jungle out there when my vines grow up! The morning glory can grow to be ten feet tall or more in a season, which made it a popular privy plant in the old days when it was often used to camouflage the outhouse.

As its name suggests, the flowers open in the morning and gradually fade during the afternoon. They will wrap their vines around anything—wood, wire, string, and even each other.

Fittingly, in the language of flowers, they represent bonds and attachments.

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I love the heart-shaped leaves and sky blue flowers of ‘Clarke’s Heavenly Blue’ but the flowers do come in other colors.

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Rich, wine-red ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ has a pure white throat.

‘Kniola’s Black Knight’ is a deep purple with a hot pink throat and ‘Flying Saucers’ are silvery white streaked with blue. There are double-flowering forms like ‘Sunrise Serenade’ which makes up for the fact that it needs help climbing (you have to tie it to its support) by having large, ruffled, red blossoms that stay open longer than single flowering varieties do. 

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My favorite is ‘Grandpa Ott’s’. It is a vigorous climber that has dark blue flowers with a red star in the throat. It is the heirloom plant that gave Seed Savers Exchange its start.

A few other Ipomoeas you may want to try include:

  • Moonflower looks like a large white morning glory but its flowers open at night making it the perfect plant for a moon garden.
  • Cardinal Climber has interesting, deeply cut foliage and its flowers are bright red, tubular-shaped trumpets. Hummingbirds can’t resist it!
  • Cypress Vine is very similar to cardinal climber bearing the same red tubular flowers but its leaves are more finely cut and fern-like.
  • Spanish Flag bears racemes of small tubular flowers that start out bright red, turn orange when mature and then fade to yellow and finally turn white. There can be hundreds of these blossoms, all at different stages of growth and colors, at the same time on a single plant. They really do look like tiny flags.

All Ipomoeas prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil and tolerate drought. No need to fertilize them, in fact overly fertile soil will promote lush leaf growth instead of flowers. Soak the seeds overnight before planting to soften the seed coat and speed germination.

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Flowering vines are fast growers and will cover an unsightly spot in your yard in no time.They are charming when grown on a trellis or twined around the railings of your sunny porch or deck. They can be trained to form a living fence or privacy screen, provide shade, or just add a wall of color. As an architectural element, they lend a new dimension to any garden. Time to think about growing up! 

Read more about growing this vine on our Morning Glory Plant page.

~ By  Robin Sweetser

About This Blog

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser's backyard gardening tips. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer's Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer's Market.

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I would not recommend eating

I would not recommend eating any part of the morning glory even though Poison Control sources claim that the flowers are okay and the seeds are the poisonous part. You can get similarly colored vinegar using chive blossoms, which are totally safe and edible. The vinegar will take on a mild onion flavor as well - an added bonus for salad dressing!

Morning glory jeweled vinegar

You can put morning glories in vinegar and the color will leach out to make a stained glass sort of liquid, which can and should be kept in the sun. I have had some for years. This can be diluted with water and I am not sure how long that lasts. You can also use citrus juice, but there are all,sorts of questions about edibility. Morning glories are glorious in a bowl for the day. They can be dried at the end of the day on a pillowcase. Dried morning glories produce the same affect as fresh,

morning glories did not bloom

Last year I had dozens of morning glories of all different colors; so far this year, not one single bloom or even a bud! The vine has a lot of bright green healthy leaves but no flowers. I am so disappointed, however I read something that said they could be "late blooming" varieties, and not bloom until as late as September. I am still hoping....

Morning Glories

I have planted heavenly blue morning glories for years and had beautiful and abundant flowers. This year I have had no blooms and do not see any flower heads forming just continued lush and healthy foliage. Any ideas what is wrong. I live in Windsor Ontario Canada and we have had an unusually hot summer. Could that a reason.

Sometimes if the soil is too

Sometimes if the soil is too rich in nitrogen morning glories will grow lovely lush vines at the expense of flowering. They bloom best in poorer soil. If you feel the need to fertilize, use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus to encourage blossoming. Often if it is too hot the plants won’t flower and we did have a hot summer. They also need full sun to bloom well.

Morning Glories

Some years ago, I had the summer sun beating against the back wall of the house (we had just bought) and heating up our master bedroom. I purchased a number of small peat pots, planted morning glories in half of them and mixed gourd seeds in the other half. I put them in the ground roughly 8(?) feet or so out from the base of the wall alternating glories and gourds. I then strung strong twine from the attic joists to wooden stakes driven next to each peat pot. As he plants grew, I trained them onto each string, and shortly I had a beautiful, shaded back wall with glories blooming and mixed small gourds hanging there with them all the way up to the roof line. Made a world of difference inside.
One word of caution - if you're not careful and watching for the glories that spring up in your yard from the seeds of the flowering plants, you will soon have nothing but glories filling up your yard. It is a very determined little vine.

Morning glories

Wow, what a great idea! We just bought a house with a bare back wall at the top of our garden. A morning glory arbor there would be fantastic--can't wait to try it!

Morning Glory planting

It is June 21, and I want to know if it is too late to plant the seeds for my morning glory so?
I live in southern Wisconsin, zone 5. Thanks for any helpful tips.
Sylvia

Hi Sylvia, I am also a zone 5

Hi Sylvia, I am also a zone 5 gardener and would not hesitate to start some more morning glories from seed this week. If you soak the seeds overnight before planting they should be up in a week. Once they have emerged they will grow fast in the long warm days of summer. As long as there are no freaky early frosts you should get plenty of blossoms. Good luck

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