The moonflower is a vining plant that lights up dark skies with large white flowers that bloom at night. As the sun rises, the blooms close and the flowers remain hidden until the next night arrives. The plant is a tender perennial that can survive year-round in tropical climates. However, many gardeners in temperate areas grow the moonflower as an annual.
Not only are moonflowers gorgeous, but their flowers have an alluring sweet scent that fills the summer air. And even though the flowers close during the day, the plant’s heart-shaped leaves offer appeal when the sun is shining.
Common name: Moonflower, moonflower vine, tropical white morning glory
Scientific name: Ipomoea alba
Bloom time: mid-summer through mid-fall
Height: 10–15 feet
Width: 3–6 feet
Light: full sun
Water: keep the soil moist but not wet
Soil pH: 6.0–7.5
Soil type: well-draining yet moist
USDA Hardiness zones: a perennial in zones 10 and 11, can be grown as an annual in cooler regions
Growing Moonflowers in Gardens
If you have a sunny spot in your garden, moonflowers can be a great option! Follow these tips if you’d like to grow healthy plants with lots of blooms.
Where to Plant Moonflowers
Before you plant one of these vining plants in your garden, ensure that you have enough space for them to grow—remember that they can easily reach over ten feet tall! Since these plants have climbing vines, they don’t need a large area to grow in as long as you provide them with something to climb up. Bamboo trellises, arbors, and pergolas all offer the vine’s tendrils places to wrap around.
Along with providing a trellis, remember to plant moonflowers in an area that receives at least six hours of sun each day. Light is crucial for proper plant growth as well as flower development.
How to Plant Moonflowers
Once you’ve found a space where a moonflower vine will be happy, it’s time to check the soil. These flowering plants like loose, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.
If you find the native soil is compacted or heavy in clay, it can be beneficial to loosen the soil with a digging fork. And no matter what type of soil you’re starting with, mixing in a scoop of finished compost will help improve drainage, aeration, and organic matter.
When it’s time to plant, you can opt for either seedlings or seeds. Wait until the danger of spring frost has passed and then plan your seeds or seedlings in the ground. If you’re planting seeds, plant three to four directly into the ground. Thin to one plant after the seedlings emerge.
Aim to keep the soil moist but not wet. The frequency at which you’ll need to water will depend on rainfall, temperature, and humidity. That said, you can expect to water your plants about once a week. If you’re not sure if you should water, poke a finger into the top two inches of soil. If it’s dry, go ahead and water it. But if it’s still moist, hold off.
Fertilizing your moonflower plant will help it remain healthy and produce lots of blooms. However, choosing the right type of fertilizer is essential! Look for a high phosphorus/low nitrogen fertilizer to encourage and support flowering.
Growing Moonflowers in Pots
If you don’t have access to an in-ground garden or would grow a moonflower on your deck or patio, you can plant in a pot. Choose a location similar to that mentioned above, then water and fertilize as previously recommended.
You should choose a container that is at least a foot in diameter and a foot deep. This will ensure the plant’s roots have plenty of room to grow. Since they are vining plants that can cascade down, they can make good flowers for window boxes or hanging baskets.
The one difference when it comes to growing moonflowers in a garden and in a pot is soil choice. When you grow in a container, you’ll want to use a potting soil mix rather than actual soil. Look for a well-draining mix that contains a large amount of organic matter. Typically, peat moss or coco coir-based potting mixes are good choices.
Another aspect to consider when you’re growing moonflowers in pots is whether or not you’d like to overwinter the plants indoors. While garden plants will die when cold temperatures arrive, you can choose to bring the potted plant inside before cold temperatures arrive. Place the plant somewhere warm indoors and then move back outside in the spring
Moonflower Meaning and Symbolism
If you watch a moonflower bloom light up in the moonlight, you can’t help but feel a hint of intrigue and romance. Therefore, it’s no surprise that these plants symbolize romance as well as mystery.
Since they bloom in the darkness, moonflowers are also symbols of the ability of beauty to emerge in dark times. They can provide hope for people who are going through tough times and encourage them to seek positivity.
- Moonflowers are native to tropical regions in North and South America including Mexico, Florida, Colombia, and Argentina.
- The plant has become known as an invasive species in some areas outside of its native range.
- The sap of the moonflower vine was used to harden the sap of the rubber tree. People indigenous to present-day Mexico made rubber balls using these two plants as early as 1600 BCE.
- Another plant (Datura stramonium) is also sometimes called by the common name moonflower. It is also known as jimson weed or devil’s weed.
- True moonflowers are white—if you spot purple or green flowers, you’re looking at a different species.
Flower Delivery for All Occasions
While moonflowers make great additions to the garden, they don’t make great cut flowers. Fortunately, The Bouqs Co. makes it easy to send flowers online! All of our flowers are responsibly sourced from farms that use sustainable growing practices, and we do our best to minimize waste during both production and packaging. By cutting out the middleman, we’re able to deliver flowers one to six days after they were cut. That means fresher, longer-lasting flowers for you and your loved ones to enjoy!
Whether you’re looking for sympathy flowers for a loved one or housewarming flowers for your pal who just moved, we’ve got you covered. So head on over and check out some of our bouquet options to find flowers you love.Shop All