The Q&A Archives: Moonflower?

Question: Please help me identify this vine. It just seemed to appear, no one knows why. It is a large vine with HUGE trumpet shaped white flowers that open at night. It also has spikey seed heads on it. Also how would I go about starting this from the seed?

Answer: This sounds like the moon flower vine (Ipomoea alba) which is related to morning glories. It is perennial in warm climates (hardy to zone 10 only) but is grown as an annual in Pennsylvania and other cold winter areas. Make sure teh seed pods are fully ripe before you pick them, and save the seeds for the winter in a paper envelope in a dry place in the house where they will not be too cold or too hot.

The seeds need to be nicked (I use a razor knife to gently scrape the surface or barely pierce the hard seed coat.) and then soaked in tepid water overnight immediately before planting.

Plant them outdoors in a warm sunny location in late spring when the soil has warmed. They grow very quickly once they germinate, so do not be tempted to plant them too early. They will not germinate in cold soil and cold weather in the spring will stunt or kill them. They grow best in a rich soil and with adequate soil moisture. You may find that they will self sow for you also and come back each year on their own.

Enjoy your mooonflowers!

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