How to grow Ipomoea (Morning Glory)

Ipomoea is a very tender, climbing annual plant which needs a sheltered warm spot but rewards well with large showy, velvet like flowers. Ipomoea (common name Morning Glory) is an impressive climbing plant.  Morning glory is only occasionally offered for sale as a bedding plant in garden centres, and is not commonly sold. This means to grow Ipomoea  it is generally necessary to germinate from seed. 

Morning glory germinates and grows easily from seed as long as the plants are kept warm. It is frost tender and not hardy (explanation of hardy) and originates from the warm countries in the world.  It is classified at H1 which means under glass all year and +15C which means it really must be kept warm. Plants are offered for sale will need to be kept frost free and warm and only planted out once summer has properly arrived, if it does. Ipomoea,  when grown in this country, will not survive a winter and are treated as annuals which means the grow and flower all in one season.

 As Ipomoea hail from warm parts of the world and they are very sensitive to the cold. If after germination they get so much as a chill breeze, the leaves will wither and the plant suffer. In most garden centres it is usually the blue variety offered for sale, although many seed companies sell a much wider range and just as lovely in pink.

  Morning glory look spectacular twinning through other plants in a mixed border. Ipomoea are not an easy plant to grow, but every year I try, with mixed results depending on the season. In a good year Morning Glory make a super annual climbing plant with lots of trumpets of flowers. It has to be said in a poor summer, and in more exposed gardens, Ipomoea may struggle to bloom. The plant need to be established to bloom, which means it is a good idea to germinate early, say March but they must then be keep warm. An unheated greenhouse will not be warm enough in March, they need to be nurtured inside on a window sill or a warm conservatory. If you have nowhere warm to keep the plants, delay germination until later in the spring, late April or early May. Unless you are in sheltered spot don't plant out until June when it is warmer. This plant will not thrive in cool wet summers and needs a sheltered spot. Morning glory will bloom best in a sunny spot and will not be happy in soil which is water logged. 

That said Morning Glory are vigorous and grow well, but tend to flower best in warmer summers, and in the warmer more sheltered spots. In a good year when they flower well, Ipomoea are a captivating climber which is why I try to grow them each year in the hope of a good summer. Impossible to resist. 

Morning Glory, although lovely is a delicate annual climbing plant, and may not suit all gardens a more robust choice of annuals would be Sweet Peas, and for perennial climbing plants take a look at Ideas for other climbing plants

Morning glory is tagged a Red Wheelbarrow plant which means it is difficult and to grow although not particular time consuming. It needs cosseting and care and can be difficult especially to grow in colder areas and during poor summers. It is one of the few plants on the website labelled with red wheelbarrow, which means it is difficult to grow.