Morning Glories are so popular, they need little description. I plant them every year on a wooden banister. Their brightly colored faces greet me in the morning. By summer’s end, they have become close friends with the other plants, clasping their thin tendrils around branches of neighboring shrubs and perennials.
Growing morning glories from seed is easy if you bypass that hard seed coat. Either soak the seeds in water overnight before planting or nick the seed coat with a file to allow water to permeate. I start my seeds by soaking in water the night before. The next day, I sow them in small plastic containers with seed starting mix, under lights in my house. I do this in late April and transplant after last frost, typically Mother’s Day here in Northern Virginia. Morning glory seeds can be direct sown after Mother’s Day as well. They do need support so make sure they are planted in a place where the tendrils can clasp on to something.
Morning glories must be grown in full sun for the flowers to open up in the morning. Each flower only lasts one day but the vines produce many flowers. The vines prefer well-drained soil, not too rich or one gets more foliage than flowers. There is no need to deadhead or fertilizer.
These annuals produce large seeds, many large seeds so it is easy to find them and save for next year. When the seeds develop in the fall, they are black with a papery brown coat. I cut the stem and drop the cluster of seedheads in a paper bag. Later, in the winter, I separate the seeds. One vine can produce many so this is a perfect plant to grow for seed exchanges.
For a while I have been growing Heavenly Blue from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Heavenly Blue is an heirloom with bright blue flowers and a white throat. This year I got Glacier Star from Renee’s Garden which is light blue with dark blue strips, creating a pinwheel effect. This is an heirloom so if I save the seeds, the resulting plants will look the same as the parents. If you want to save seeds, look for heirlooms or open pollinated, not hybrids.
Usually, morning glories have five fused petals in pink, white, magenta, or purple colors. For something different, check out Botanical Interests’ Chocolate which is salmon brown, or the Flying Saucer which is white with broad light blue streaks and a yellow throat. Or try Japanese morning glories from Baker Creek — the Kikyozaki mixed has pointed petals and the Imperial Japanese mix has a wide variety of markings on the blossoms. Kitchen Garden Seeds has a frilly pink called Split Second and a double purple one called Sunrise Serenade.
Try growing this easy annual vine this year. Morning glories are a great investment — one packet of seeds can reward you with flowers every year..