What Is A Moonflower? How To Grow And Care For It?

Add the alluring scent of moonflower to your garden if it is utilized for evening leisure and amusement. When cultivating moonflowers, a climbing vine with huge white or purple blooms provides a wonderful evening scent. Ipomoea alba, often known as moonflower plants, is a perennial vine that grows in subtropical climates, however, gardeners who have harsh winters can successfully grow moonflower plants as annuals. Moonflower plants, which belong to the Ipomea family and have flowers that bloom in the late afternoon, are kin to the sweet potato vine and the morning glory. The lovely moonflower vine is further enhanced by its large, heart-shaped leaves.

moonflower bush
moonflower bush

What is Moonflower?

The moonflower (Ipomoea alba) is a tropical vine native to Central and South America. Morning glories are related to them. They only are available in two colors, white and pale pink, unlike morning glories. They are also one of the flowers that open at night, instead of blooming in the mornings as morning glories.

Moonflower has a pleasant aroma as well. Moths are drawn to the aroma, which pollinates the flowers. The aroma attracts the moths first, and when they follow the scent, they can observe the white blossoms gleaming in the moonlight. Moonflowers’ combination of color and perfume makes them ideal for moon gardens, which include plants with white or silver leaves, white flowers, or that are intensely scented at night. Below is a picture of a purple moon flower:

moon lily flower
moon lily flower

Moonflowers are perennial and grow on long vines reaching 70 feet in length in tropical places. They grow between ten and fifteen feet long in a single growing season in colder locations where they are planted as annuals. Similar to morning glory leaves, the leaves are also heart-shaped. The flowers are significantly larger than their morning glory relatives, reaching a diameter of 6 inches. The blooms bloom in the evening as the sun sets and remain open until morning when the sun rises. In cloudy weather, they may remain open later in the day. Moonflowers, like morning glories, are prolific self-sowers that may become invasive. Several states have prohibited the sale of moonflower seeds within their boundaries. Before planting them, remember to verify your state’s laws.

How to Grow a Moonflower 

Moonflowers are simple to raise from seed but classify them before sowing to promote germination. Stratification is the process of weakening a hard seed coat to allow water to pass through and germination to occur. Some gardeners split the moonflower seed coverings with a knife or nail clippers and put them in warm water overnight. Others use abrasive sandpaper or a file to partly open the seed coverings. Others, however, just soak the unopened seeds. Seeds that have been somewhat nicked or roughed up before soaking normally germinate in four to fourteen days, whereas seeds that have merely been soaked can germinate between 14 and 21 days. 

moon flower lighting
moon flower lighting

Direct planting in the ground

Wait until the weather is consistently warm, around sixty to seventy degrees Fahrenheit, before planting moonflower seeds directly in the ground. Give them full sunlight and well-drained soil. While moonflowers will thrive in a wide range of soils, even within dry, poor soil, a tiny quantity of compost can be worked into the soil. Plant them six inches apart, 1/4″ deep. Once the seedlings are tall enough, thin them each 12 inches. The picture below is a datura moonflower:

moonflower meaning
moonflower meaning

Seeding Indoors

If you are living in a cold area and wish to give your moonflowers a jump start on the growth season, start the seeds inside 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last spring frost in 3-inch peat pots loaded with potting soil. Cover the seeds with a quarter-inch layer of potting soil. Place the pots on a tray in a warm place with bright, indirect light and wrap with plastic wrap to increase humidity. The temperature should ideally remain around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a heating mat designed for seed beginning underneath the tray to stimulate germination. Keep the surface of the soil in the containers damp but not wet, as this can cause the seeds to rot. Below is a pink moon flower:

moonflower seed pods
moonflower seed pods

When all danger of frost has passed, transplant the seedlings outside. Place them in a sheltered area for around a week to allow them to adjust to the outdoor weather, wind, and sun. Moonflowers hate having their roots disturbed, so plant them while they’re still inside the peat pots when you relocate them to their permanent position. Their roots will penetrate the pots and into the earth. Water the plants on a regular basis until they are established, then provide 1 inch of water per week if rainfall is insufficient.

Moonflowers do not require fertilizer, which encourages leaf growth but leads to fewer blooms. Plant these twining flowers on a fence so that their vines can climb it or direct them to climb a trellis or even other support. Moonflowers can be difficult to cultivate in pots unless they are quite large, as the vines might grow to be 10′ to 20′ long.

Moonflowers are harmful in all parts, such as the seeds, therefore keeping children and dogs away from them. Numerous Ipomoea species are designated noxious weeds in some states and may be outlawed. So you may wonder are moon flowers illegal? If you do not want the moonflowers to come back the next year and/or reside in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, cut off the faded flowers before they produce seeds. Moonflowers will not bloom in cold-weather areas.

How to Get Moonflower to Bloom

When the creamy, white moonflower of the gorgeous and mysterious moonflower opens at night, they emit a gentle, sweet aroma. The plant blooms all summer until frost; deadhead whatever blossoms you can reach, but it will continue to bloom if you don’t get them all.

Moonflower blooms consistently when given ample sun and watered on a regular basis. And incorporating fertilizer into your watering regimen—moonflower prefers a high phosphorus variety—will encourage your plant to produce more flowers.

how to plant moonflower seeds
how to plant moonflower seeds

Common Issues With Moonflower

Moonflower is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal attention. However, it may have a few issues that are simple to resolve for any gardener.

flowers that represent the moon
flowers that represent the moon

Yellow Lesions on the Leaf Edges

This indicates that your moonflower has black rot, a type of bacterial disease that, if unchecked, will cause your plant to remove its leaves. However, because this is caused by overpopulation and too much moisture, you can cure it: untangle your vines to separate them out, and never water in the dark or from above.

Moon flower seedlings die for no apparent reason

This is referred to as a damping-off disease, a disease that can affect seemingly healthy seedlings at any time. To avoid this, do not overwater seedlings, and don’t overcrowd them in your garden. Thin your plants to allow for more air circulation, which should help prevent damping off. When beginning seeds, use a porous seed-starter mix instead of conventional potting soil and provide adequate air circulation to avoid damping-off fungus.

Moonflower FAQs

When to plant moonflower seeds?

Moonflower is ideally planted once the danger of frost has gone in the spring. It is a fast-growing vine that can reach a length of 10 to 20 feet in just one season under ideal conditions.

moonflower lotus flower
moonflower lotus flower

What do moonflower seeds look like?

In accordance with the plant reference website Floridata, the 4 to 6 moon flower seeds within are yellowish-ivory, approximately 3/4 inch long and 1/2 inch wide, flat or indented solely on a single side with an overall teardrop form – quite similar to a garbanzo bean.

Can you start a moon flower from a cutting?

Growing moonflowers in containers from seed or by cutting. To take cuttings, cut around 10 cm of a strong plant’s stem and cut 2-3 leaves from the lowest half. Cut the stem diagonally to increase the area of moisture absorption and guarantee that the stem might absorb all of the water.

How many moonflower seeds should I plant?

Because white moonflower roots dislike being disturbed, peat pots enable roots to enter the container and keep on growing. Place one to three seeds in each container and cover with 1/4 inch of potting soil.

moon and flower
moon and flower

Can I start moonflowers indoors?

This herbaceous vine thrives in pots indoors in any USDA plant hardiness zone as long as it gets full sunlight and continuous watering. To thrive, moonflowers need basic care and strong support.


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