How to grow Ipomoea Morning Glory Plant

Ipomoea is a very tender annual climbing plant which needs a sheltered warm 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 and generally, when gardeners refer to morning glory plants, it is to Ipomoea. Those commonly grown are tender annuals with large trumpet shaped showy flowers, velvety in appearance. 

Ipomoea hail from warm parts of the world, which in turns means they are very sensitive to the cold, probably more so than any tender annual 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.

Because plants of morning glory are not commonly offered for sale in garden centres , it is usual to raise them from seed. Besides 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 to give them a longer growing period, but not too early, or the cold will be a problem.

 Morning Glory is vigorous and flowers best in warm summers, and in the warmer, more sheltered parts of the UK. In a good year when they flower well, Ipomoea is a captivating climber, which is why I try to grow each year in the hope of a good summer. Impossible to resist. Ipomoea, when grown in UK will not survive a winter and is treated as an annual, which means they grow, flower and finish all in one season.

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. 

The best time for germination is April onwards, and the seedlings must be kept warm. 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 later in the spring, late April or early May 

How and when to plant Ipomoea

Only plant out Ipomoea 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.

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last updated 11.11.2021