How to grow Ipomoea Morning Glory Plant

Ipomoea is a tender,  annual climbing plant with lovely, velverty saucer like blooms. The fact that it is annual means or will grow to maturity, flower and die in one year. Being tender means it needs to be protected from cold and grown in a warm sunny spot. 

The common name "Morning Glory" refers to 1,000 species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae. The largest group in the family, Convolvulaceae, is Ipomoea.

Ipomoea hail from warm parts of the world, which in turns means they are very sensitive to the cold, probably more so than most tender plants gardeners commonly encounter. If, after germination, the young plants get so much as a chill breeze, the leaves will wither and the plants suffer. It is true to say during poor summers, or in more exposed gardens, it may be a struggle to establish Ipomoea and to get them to flower well.

Morning glory are easy to germinate and grow on provided they are kept warm. In addition to the blue variety of Ipomoea purpurea , seed companies sell a much wider range of colours and also I. lobata also known as the Spanish flag, top right image. 

 Ipomoea needs to get established to flower well, which means germinating early in the year. Morning Glory is vigorous and flowers best in warm summers, and in the warmer, more sheltered parts of the UK. Ipomoea is a captivating climber, which is why I try to grow each year in the hope of a good summer. Impossible to resist.

How to Grow Ipomoea Morning Glory from Seed

 Ipomoea is classified at H1 which is very tender and at all stages from germination onwards, the plant must be warm.

To germinate, put seeds in a small seed tray/container cover lightly with compost, firm down gently and mist. Ipomoea are best germinated in a propagator, or covered and once germinated, keep warm and do not allow to dry out. Pre soaking the seeds is often recommended.  I find the seeds germinate fine without this, but if you are having a problem; it is always worth doing. Soak the seeds for up to 3 hours in warm water and then sow straight away. A temperature of 18C is required to trigger germination.

Do not be tempted to keep the seedlings in the propagator, as the warm, moist atmosphere will make the seedlings too soft and sappy. Equally, unless you are germinating late in the year, an unheated greenhouse will not be warm enough unless you are in a mild part of the country. The seedlings need to be nurtured inside on a windowsill or a warm conservatory. If you have nowhere warm to keep the plants, delay germination until May.

How and when to plant Ipomoea

Only plant Ipomoea outside when the plants are sturdy, all risk of frost has passed, and the weather is warm. Plant in a sheltered spot with plenty of sun.  Ipomoea are not particular about the type of soil they are planted in, and will tolerate quite poor soils. Unless you are in a sheltered spot, don't plant out until June when it is warmer. If you get caught out, cover with a fleece to protect from cold.

Once established, in warm enough conditions, Ipomoea requires no maintenance or attention. 

Ipomoea is a climbing plant which will naturally climb, and an ideal place is alongside a south-facing wall with a trellis or support to climb up. The wall will provide plenty of heat. 

Growing Morning Glory Key Points

Red Wheelbarrow means difficult to grow

Level of difficulty : Red Wheelbarrow

Classification: Annual Climber

                     Conditions Required: Sheltered warm sunny Special requirements: Very frost tender.    Page updated 2May 2023