Growing Morning Glories

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Morning Glories

Morning Glory
Pixabay

Morning glories are annual climbers with slender stems, heart-shaped leaves, and trumpet-shaped flowers of pink, purple-blue, magenta, or white. They have beautifully-shaped blooms that unfurl in the sun and romantic tendrils that lend old-fashioned charm.

Train morning glories over a pergola or arch, or use as a dense groundcover. The vine grows quickly—up to 15 feet in one season—and can self-seed fairly easily, too. Therefore, choose where you put this plant wisely!

Morning glories are drought-tolerant and bloom from early summer to the first frost. Their big, fragrant, colorful flowers are known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Note: Morning glory seeds are poisonous, especially in large quantities. Keep them out of reach of children and pets. Learn more

Morning Glory or Bindweed?

Annual morning glories are often mistaken for their perennial cousin, field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), which is an aggressive, invasive weed native to Europe and Asia. Field bindweed—also called perennial morning glory or creeping jenny—grows similarly to annual morning glories, but sends out deep, deep roots, which make it very difficult to get rid of and allow it to overwinter in areas where cultivated morning glories could not. 

To tell the difference between the plants, look at the leaves, flowers, and vines:

  • Field bindweed leaves are typically smaller than those of annual morning glories. Morning glory leaves may be 2 inches or more across; bindweed leaves rarely exceed 2 inches. Bindweed leaves are also shaped more like an arrowhead than those of morning glories, which are heart shaped.
  • Field bindweed flowers only occur in either pink or white, whereas annual morning glory flowers may be pink, white, magenta, blue, purple, or red, and are much larger than those of the bindweed.
  • Morning glory vines are usually thicker than bindweed’s vines, and may have small hairs.

Morning Glories

Planting

Planting Morning Glories

  • Grow morning glories in a sunny site. They need a lot of sun to bloom their best!
  • Plant in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.
  • Choose a site that is sheltered from cold or drying winds.
  • Sow morning glory seeds early in the season once the ground has warmed to 64°F (18°C).
  • Germination rates are improved by filing down the seeds just long enough to break the coat, then soaking them for 24 hours before planting. This encourages them to send out a root. (They look like little worms.) 
  • Cover lightly with ¼-inch of soil. Space about 6 inches apart. Water thoroughly at planting.

Care

Growing Morning Glories

  • Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer after planting. Do not overfertilize, or the vine may grow more foliage than flowers.
  • Support climbers and trailing species with structures like trellises, pergolas, or arches.
  • Morning glories are low-maintenance; just be sure to water during dry periods.
  • Mulch to retain moisture and avoid weeds.
  • If you don’t want the plant to reseed itself, be sure to snip off old flowers before they turn into seedpods. 

Purple morning glory

Pests/Diseases

Pests:

Disease/Fungus: 

  • Rust 
  • Fungal leaf spots
  • Fusarium Wilt

Critters: 

  • Deer can be a nuisance

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • Morning glories are one of September’s birth flowers.
  • If you’ve ever grown sweet potatoes, you may notice a resemblance between their leaves and flowers and those of the morning glory. Unsurprisingly, the plants are related: both belong to the genus Ipomoea.

Growing Morning Glories

Botanical Name

Ipomoea

Plant Type Flower
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Type Any, Loamy, Sandy
Soil pH
Bloom Time Summer, Fall
Flower Color Blue, Pink, Purple, Red, White
Hardiness Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Special Features Attracts Birds, Attracts Butterflies