Guide to Growing Morning Glories

Native to Tropical America, wild morning glories produce small white blooms that open in the early morning and shrivel under the rays of the sun. Until the turn of the century morning glories were grown simply to cover unsightly buildings or structures. One day in 1931, a man named Clarke happened upon a field of morning glories in Colorado that produced sky-blue blooms that held their blooms into the morning. This gave rise to ‘Clarke’s Heavenly Blue Morning Glories.’Others soon produced an assortment of colors making this a popular flower in home gardens.

Light: Morning glories prefer full sun for six to eight hours a day but will tolerate light shade. Areas with bright morning sun, some shade during the heat of the day and direct sunlight in the afternoon are ideal for morning glories.

Soil: Morning glories prefer poor soil and will grow in nearly any soil as long as it drains well. Avoid adding fertilizer – or amending heavily with organic matter – when planting morning glories, as the added nutrients may cause lush foliage with few blooms.

Preparing seeds: Morning glories have hard seed coats and benefit from either soaking in warm water over night or nicking the seed coat. Some prefer to file a small notch in the outer coat of the seed to allow moisture to enter and germination to occur. If you choose to nick the seed, use nail clipper – but use caution not to cut too deeply and injure the embryo inside the seed.

Planting: Plant morning glory seeds to a depth of 1/2 inch spaced six inches apart along a fence or in front of a trellis. Cover with soil and firm the soil down with your hands to secure the seeds.

Water: Water to moisten the soil to the depth of the seeds when first planting and keep the soil moist until seedlings emerge in seven to 21 days, depending on the soil temperature and weather conditions. Reduce water to once or twice a week once the seedlings are established.

Thinning: Thin morning glories to eight to 10 inches apart to allow plenty of room for these vines to grow.

Deadheading: Deadhead morning glories daily by removing the shriveled flowers from the vine. This prolongs the blooming period and improves the appearance of the plants.

More work by this author:

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