Moon Flower: Tropical White Morning Glory

Moon flower could be a beautiful addition to any flower backyard. This vining plant is a quick grower that can readily connect itself to any sort of assist construction and create a vertical wall of flowers in your backyard. They produce stunning white flowers which are rounded and could be the scale of a salad plate (about 6 inches in diameter). Though the white selection might be the preferred they do are available different colours corresponding to pink, purple and blue. 

Moonflower is definitely an in depth relative to the candy potato vine (Ipomoea batatas). Not like its Ipomoea sibling, I. alba will not be edible; like most morning glory species it produces seeds that may be mildly poisonous to animals. (Technically talking, candy potato seeds shouldn’t be consumed by canine/cats/horses both, though they’re barely safer!) On the brilliant facet, it’s pretty straightforward to maintain pets away from moonflower seeds.

There are two different shut kin that fall beneath the better class of moon flowers too: Ipomoea leptophylla (aka bush moonflower) and Ipomoea violacea (seaside moonflower or sea moonflower, relying on who you discuss to). Rising moonflowers is sort of straightforward, and beneath we’ll talk about their care necessities. 

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Fast Care Information

Moonflower can also be referred to as tropical white morning glory. Supply: Scott Zona
Widespread Title Moonflower plant, tropical white morning glory, moon vine
Scientific Title Ipomoea alba
Household Convolvulaceae
Peak & Unfold As much as 4ft extensive and 8ft tall
Mild Full solar
Soil Free, well-drained soil
Water One to 2 deep waterings per week
Pests & Ailments Hornworms, black rot

All About The Moon Flower

Ipomoea alba, also referred to as the moonflower plant, moon vine, or tropical white morning glory is commonly confused with Datura which has similarities in look, however a very totally different species and plant sort. Daturas exist within the Solanaceae household with lethal nightshade. Datura is typically mistakenly referred to as moonflower however is extra sometimes called thornapples, jimsonweeds, and satan’s trumpets. Datura species are extremely hallucinogenic, whereas moonflower will not be. One other method to distinguish between the 2 is that Datura flowers bloom throughout the daytime, whereas moonflower will solely start to bloom within the late afternoon into the evening. Moonflowers will start to shut because the solar rises. They could keep open on cloudy days, nevertheless. 

Moonflower crops originated in tropical and subtropical areas of northern and South America. For that reason, moonflower vines develop greatest in southern zones. They are often grown in a perennial flower backyard in USDA zones 9-12 however shall be grown as annuals in all different zones. Moon flowers bloom alongside lengthy vines that put out darkish inexperienced heart-shaped leaves. These moonflower vines will sprawl alongside the bottom until they’re given a construction to climb. 

Sorts Of Moon Flower Crops

Moonflower buds
A wonderful facet view of moonflower buds. Supply: Starr

There are two different sorts of moonflowers which are part of the Ipomoea species: bush moonflower and seaside moonflower. Bush moonflower, as its identify suggests, doesn’t develop as a vine however reasonably kinds a bushy clump. As a substitute of the usual heart-shaped leaves, they’ve lengthy slender, skinny leaves. Seaside moonflower or sea moonflower has thicker leaves and prefers coastal environments corresponding to mangrove swamps. 

Moon Flower Care

Rising moonflower crops may be very straightforward given they’re a voracious climbing vine and might even be thought-about a weed in some areas. Moonflower vines develop beneath a wide range of situations, however we’ll talk about the optimum situations wanted to get essentially the most flowers to bloom. 

Solar and Temperature

Moonflower crops do greatest when planted in an space of the backyard in full solar that receives not less than 6-8 hours of direct daylight per day. These tropical flowers could be grown as a perennial in USDA zones 9-12. They are going to be grown as an annual in all different zones. Moonflower vines can be grown as far north as USDA zones 3-4 so long as they’re grown throughout the warmest mid-summer months. That being stated, the best out of doors temperatures for moonflowers are between 65-85 levels Fahrenheit. As soon as nighttime lows are reliably within the 60s then that may be a good time to direct sow your moonflower seed. In colder climates with shorter rising seasons, it’s possible you’ll need to begin your moonflower seeds indoors 6-8 weeks earlier than you intend to transplant them out. 

Water and Humidity

Ipomoea alba foliage and flowers
Ipomoea alba foliage and flowers. Supply: Starr

The most effective time of day to water your moonflower vine is within the early morning which can permit the water to penetrate earlier than the solar has an opportunity to evaporate it from the soil. Moonflower crops can survive in a wide range of situations and are comparatively drought-tolerant, nevertheless, a deep watering one to 2 instances per week will yield essentially the most development and extra blooms. Water on the base of the vines with a soaker hose. Because the moonflower vine is native to tropical climates it prefers a reasonably excessive humidity stage. Nevertheless, it’ll tolerate dry air so long as it’s stored effectively watered. 


When planting moonflowers in your gardens you will need to select a web site with unfastened, well-drained soil. In case your native soil will not be very best then it’s possible you’ll select to develop moonflower crops in a container as a substitute. This fashion, you’ll be able to extra simply management the soil situations and make changes as wanted. They are often grown in massive containers, not less than 12 inches deep, with loads of drainage holes on the base. The moonflower vine can survive poor soil situations and customarily doesn’t want something aside from good drainage. They won’t, nevertheless, tolerate acidic soil and do their greatest in impartial soil. 

Fertilizing Moon Flower

Since moonflower crops are a vigorous vine, it’s not completely essential to fertilize them. Nevertheless, in the event you select to present it a lift, then there are some things to notice. An excessive amount of nitrogen fertilizer will enhance the expansion of the foliage however will restrict the variety of instances moonflowers bloom. Half-strength excessive phosphorus fertilizer is the higher option to encourage extra blooms in your moonflower vine. A liquid fertilizer utilized in early summer time will assist enhance your blooms for the rest of the season. 

Pruning & Coaching Moon Flowers

Moonflower crops develop greatest on a assist like a trellis, fence, or pergola. Plant them alongside the bottom of your assist construction and because the crops develop tall sufficient, lean them over to your trellis and gently connect them with a plant twist tie or string. It will encourage them to achieve on this path. They are going to finally develop tiny tendrils, seize onto the construction on their very own, and proceed to climb. 

When moonflower crops are grown as a perennial, they need to be pruned again to the bottom within the autumn and the roots protected with mulch over the winter. Your plant will come again to life within the spring. When grown as an annual you’ll be able to in the reduction of the vines as they develop to manage the unfold or give an total form as wanted and desired. 

Ipomoea alba seed pods
Ipomoea alba seed pods are fairly massive. Supply: Cerlin Ng


Though moonflowers are grown as an annual in most areas, they are going to readily self-seed and hold coming again 12 months after 12 months as soon as they’ve established a patch in your gardens. You may as well accumulate the moonflower seeds on the finish of the season and plant them in a extra intentional row or sample or transfer them to different areas. The white flowers solely bloom as soon as. After the flower has wilted, you’ll then see the seed pods start to kind as a substitute. Enable the seed pods to completely mature on the plant after which take away them to dry. The next spring will probably be time to plant your seeds! Since moonflower seeds have such a thick seed coat, there are a couple of methods to assist help in greater germination charges. You should definitely nick the outer layer of the seeds’ seed coat with a nail file and soak the seeds in a single day in heat water. Select your planting web site and hold seeds evenly moist till they start to sprout new crops. 

Moonflower can be propagated by way of cuttings, though this technique is much less dependable. Take a reducing of the vine just under the leaf node and take away foliage on the underside 2-3 inches of the stem. Place the stem in a glass of water, and it is best to see roots start to kind in a couple of weeks. As soon as the roots have appeared, it’s possible you’ll transplant them to your planting web site open air, or they will even be grown indoors in a pot so long as they obtain sufficient daylight. 

Troubleshooting Moon Flower

Moonflower with slight damage
Barely-damaged moonflower and leaves. Supply: Dinesh Valke

As talked about above, moonflower vines are comparatively straightforward to develop and care for so long as they’re supplied with weekly deep waterings and well-draining soil. There are a couple of points value noting, nevertheless. 

Rising Issues

A scarcity of daylight can drastically scale back the variety of blooms and that’s the explanation that we’re rising this vine within the first place! In the event you discover lackluster vine development and no blooms, then contemplate the location in your backyard. They could want extra daylight! That is one plant that won’t tolerate being planted in floor partially shade. 


As beforehand talked about, moonflowers are a good way to draw nocturnal pollinators to your backyard. Nevertheless, that does include a possible draw back. Moonflowers are identified to draw hummingbird moths to your backyard, that are useful pollinators. The hummingbird moth larval stage are caterpillars known as hornworms and have a really comparable look to the dreaded tomato hornworm. Nevertheless, they don’t seem to be the identical and don’t trigger the identical destruction to your crops! Hornworms will chomp on foliage however will not be almost as damaging as tomato hornworms. 

That being stated, moonflowers may appeal to the 5 noticed hawk moth, the species whose eggs produce the dreaded tomato hornworm! It’s greatest to discover ways to establish these moths and all phases of their life cycle so as to appropriately eliminate potential pests as you come throughout them. I’ve discovered that checking the undersides of leaves frequently will assist with pest administration, particularly in the event you start to note tiny holes in your leaves. Spraying your crops with BT spray can scale back the larval numbers. Take away particles and leaf litter on the finish of the season to keep away from offering the caterpillars with the right overwintering web site. Tomato hornworms will overwinter of their chrysalis stage. 


Black rot is a bacterial illness that may have an effect on moonflowers in scorching and humid climate. It seems as yellowish-orange, V-shaped markings on the outer edges of the leaves and finally causes the leaves to fall off. To forestall this illness, don’t crowd your crops collectively. Illness issues will not be frequent, and you can also make certain they’ve good air circulation as a preventative measure. Be certain they’re planted in your backyard with enough area, and selectively prune when wanted. There are not any therapies for black rot as soon as the illness has occurred. Nevertheless, copper fungicide that’s labeled to be used on cruciferous greens might assist restrict further illness improvement and unfold despite the fact that this illness is attributable to a bacterium.  

Continuously Requested Questions

Moon flower
Moon flower is a beautiful evening bloomer. Supply: Scott Zona

Q: How ought to I take advantage of moonflower within the panorama?

A: This climbing vine does greatest when grown on a trellis and might make a shocking addition to an arch on the entrance to your backyard. An arch or arbor with morning glories rising on one facet and moonflowers on the opposite will offer you blooms durin the day and at evening too. The morning glories on one half will bloom within the morning after which within the late afternoon and into the night, the moonflowers will bloom on their half of the trellis.

Q: Can moonflowers develop in pots?

A: Sure, they are often grown in pots within the backyard so long as they’re sufficiently deep sufficient for the foundation system (not less than 12 inches deep). 

Q: Do moonflowers come again yearly?

A: They are often grown as a perennial vine in USDA zones 9 and up. In decrease zones, they are going to be annuals, though they are going to readily self-seed and might come again 12 months after 12 months by way of seeds which have dropped from the earlier 12 months’s moonflower crops. 

Q: Are moon flowers toxic to the touch?

A: They don’t seem to be! Ipomoea will not be poisonous to individuals, young children, or pets, nevertheless, it bears a placing resemblance to Datura which can also be generally known as moonflower and might have hallucinogenic results if ingested. 

Q: Can moonflower get you excessive?

A: No, moonflower can’t get you excessive. As talked about above, this can be a widespread false impression that comes from the confusion between Ipomoea alba and Datura. 

Q: What’s particular a couple of moonflower?

A: It has stunning white flowers surrounded by deep inexperienced heart-shaped leaves. There are only a few nocturnal blooms and these can be utilized to assist appeal to nighttime pollinators to your backyard which could be useful when you have different nocturnal blooms that you just want to be pollinated like dragon fruit. 

Q: Are moon flowers unlawful?

A: Ipomoea alba will not be unlawful. Rising moonflowers will not be unlawful both.

Q: Do hummingbirds like moonflowers?

A: Since they’re night-blooming, it’s unlikely that hummingbirds could be out and about whereas the flowers are in bloom. Hummingbird moths, nevertheless, will certainly be drawn to your backyard at any time when these flowers are in bloom. 

Q: Are you able to scent moonflower?

A: Sure, they’ve a candy perfume just like orange blossoms. 

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