Moonflowers in Cold Climates - Knowledgebase Question

Davison, MI
Avatar for dadarlin
Question by dadarlin
November 7, 1999
After searching for years, finally have moonflower plant (not vine). Do not know what to do with plant now that fall has arrived. I am in Michigan and have removed the seed pods from my plants have a lg bucket full! (approx 50 pods).

I do not know if these plants are annuals or perennials? Should I cut them back? My stalks are at least an inch in perimeter, plants are four feet tall and as large around, Should I just let them be? Should I reseed some now and see if they come up in the spring, or should I cut back and cover to protect from the snow?

Avatar for sunshine49346
A comment from sunshine49346
October 29, 2023
Good morning I just wanna add my comment to your question. I don't know what part of Michigan you're from but I used to live in Michigan. I'm now in Texas. When I grow moonflowers in Michigan, I just let them go. The seeds would drop they would die off and come back in spring. I just wanted to give you my opinion I lived around the Lansing Grand Rapids area and moonflowers were awesome. Hope this helps.
Thumb of 2023-10-29/sunshine49346/e8a20d

Answer from NGA
November 7, 1999
Moonflower is a common name applied to several different plants, and since you said it's not the vine, I'm going to assume that you have Brugmansia, also called Datura or Angel's Trumpet. Angel's trumpet is a bushy annual with upright flaring trumpets of white flushed with a little lilac on the undersides and buds. Each flower is about 9 inches long and 6 inches wide at the mouth.

I think in your climate these plants will be annual. In some areas they can act as perennials but will suffer frost damage. I'd suggest testing them just to see what they'll do. I'll include info on overwintering perennials below. Snow actually acts as an insulator; it's the freezing temperatures that you need to protect plants from.

Brugmansia seeds are best sown in spring when temps. reach 68-77 degrees F. Keep soil moist until they germinate. Good luck!

Here's some pointers on overwintering from "Perennials for Dummies" by Marcia Tatroe and NGA.

1. Cut back on watering as temps. cool. This signals plants that it's time to go into dormancy and helps "harden" them off.

2. If you had any insect problems, remove any plant debris and mulch from that area so eggs and disease won't overwinter.

3. Place a fresh 4-6 inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants.

4. If your temps. are regularly below 0 degrees Farenheit, don't cut back the perennials until late winter or early spring. The dead foliage helps protect them from cold.

5. After the ground freezes, cover the whole bed with a loose layer of straw or hay. Leave it until early spring and then gradually remove it as temps. warm. Don't remove it all at once.

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