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A guide to growing and caring for a garden filled with stunning morning glories

Morning glories are wonderful climbing plants that certainly live up to their name. Whether you prefer a more classic blue and purple variety or want to try a daring scarlet or black, these flowers are easy to grow, even for gardeners who are just beginning. If you’re intrigued by morning glories and want to try your hand at growing them, then you’re in the right place. In this handy guide, we’ll lay out everything you need to know about planting and caring for these delightful flowers.

Planting morning glories

Morning glories are planted in late spring or early summer when the soil is 64 degrees Fahrenheit or above. It’s important to plant them after all chance of frost has passed. Morning glories are sensitive to cold, and their thin stems and leaves can be easily damaged by cold wind and frost if left exposed. Choosing a sheltered planting spot can help your morning glories survive, especially if you want to grow them as perennials in the northern half of their growing range.

In mild climates, you can plant your morning glories later than early summer, but be aware that you’ll likely have a shorter growing season and your plants may not be established enough to survive winter. The planting location should also have well-draining soil, and receive plenty of sun. In hotter climates, consider giving your morning glories morning sun and afternoon shade.

You can sow the morning glory seeds directly into the soil, planting them only a quarter of an inch deep and roughly 6 inches apart. However, you can increase your odds of a successful planting by scoring and soaking the seeds. Gently scratch the outer coating of the seed and soak it in clean water for a day before planting. The direct contact with water helps to jump-start root production.

Purple morning glories climbing a large fence
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Caring for morning glories

Once your morning glories are planted, you should begin to see sprouts after only a week or two. Be careful not to uproot your new shoots when weeding! A layer of mulch around the base of the plant can help suppress weeds and keep the soil moist. You can add a small amount of balanced fertilizer, but over-fertilization leads to more leaves and fewer flowers. When the soil dries out, you can water your morning glories, but in many cases, they’ll thrive on rain alone.

An important thing to keep in mind when caring for your morning glories is that they’re climbing vines. Although they will grow along the ground for short distances, this leaves them more vulnerable to pests and diseases and generally leads to a shorter lifespan. However, you don’t necessarily need something fancy for them to climb. Morning glories don’t discriminate when it comes to climbing and will grow over anything they’re near. Fences, trellises, walls, and trees are all viable options.

You should begin seeing flowers within a few months, and those flowers will likely produce seed pods. Morning glories will self-seed, so you can let the plant drop its seeds without interference if you want more morning glories. However, if you want to control the spread of your morning glories, you can pinch the flowers or seed pods off of the vine before the seed pod is fully dry.

Purple morning glories climbing a wooden fence
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pests and diseases

Thanks in part to how quickly they grow, morning glories typically escape most pest damage. You may notice small insects snacking on the leaves or vine of your morning glories, especially aphids, mites, and caterpillars. In most cases, you won’t see major damage. However, if you have a serious infestation, or you want to take preventative measures just to be safe, then there are plenty of options for you.

There are many chemical pesticides you can use, but if you want a more natural solution, then we recommend capsaicin spray. Capsaicin is the chemical in peppers that makes them spicy. Spraying it on the leaves of a plant makes it unappealing to pests that might want to take a bite.

Bright blue morning glories on a wire fence
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Incorporating morning glories into your landscape

Morning glories are easy to incorporate into any garden or yard, as long as you have something for it to climb. You can grow morning glories in a hanging basket, but they tend to grow up onto whatever the basket is hanging from rather than dangling gently from the basket, as some other vines will. However, they also climb well without any intervention from gardeners, which makes incorporating them much easier. All you need to do is select what you want them to grow over and place it next to where they’ll emerge. They will grow along fences, or you can get or make a trellis. You can even plant them at the base of a vertical garden, and they’ll grow up the wall under or next to the garden.

If you’re low on horizontal space but have plenty of vertical space, or if you just enjoy the aesthetics of morning glories, then these flowers are a great choice for you. They have the added benefit of attracting hummingbirds to your garden! They’re easy enough for beginners to grow, and will even self-seed, so you don’t need to worry about replanting. All in all, morning glories seem like a pretty perfect plant!

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Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
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