You may have heard about the popular fragrance of moon flower that peaks at dusk.
It makes it a good choice for your evening garden.
Moon Flower or Datura is one of the most romantic flowers you can grow in your garden.
Its large, trumpet-shaped flowers will unfurl in the evening and will stay open until the sun rises.
Moreover, there are a number of varieties of moonflower that give off a lemon fragrance when the flower is open.
Some common names you may hear about moon flowers are devil’s trumpet, jimsonweed, and thorn apple.
It is important to note that this plant is a self-sedding annual plant. As the name suggests this flower blooms a night.
While long white petals slowly unfurl as the evening comes.
However, when it’s morning, the flower will curl up, reverting to a closed form.
Keep on reading to learn more about the moon flower.
If you want to add beauty to your garden you can have moon flowers. It is a tender perennial vine with a powerful fragrance.
It is also known as annual outside its tropical and subtropical USDA hardiness zones.
In some cases, gardeners also regard them as nigh-blooming species of morning glory.
Moreover, it tends to have large, heart-shaped, dark green leaves on robust with slightly prickly stems.
The flowers will begin blooming in mid-summer and late until fall.
They are often an iridescent white and will grow about 6 inches long and 3 to 6 inches wide.
The blooms will unfurl from cone-shaped buds as the sun sets and on cloudy days.
Furthermore, they tend to stay open all night spreading their sweet fragrance into the air before losing the next morning again.
You can plant this flower in spring after the frost passes.
It is a fast-growing vine that can reach about 10 10 to 20 feet long in just one season under the right conditions.
Moon flower is a member of the Ipomoea genus just like the morning glory.
You can recognize this plant that has hallucinogenic seeds and is mildly toxic to both humans and pets.
If you have small children and pets, you should be careful with this plant.
Learn more about Morning Glory: Growth and Care here.
Quick Facts about Moon Flower
Some quick facts about moon flower are:
|Common Name||Moonflower, moon vine, tropical white morning glory|
|Botanical Name||Ipomoea alba|
|Plant Type||Tender perennial, vine|
|Mature Size||10–15 ft. tall, 3–6 ft. wide|
|Soil Type||Moist, well-drained|
|Soil pH||6.0—7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral)|
|Bloom Time||Summer to fall|
|Hardiness Zones||10–12 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Tropical Americas|
|Toxicity||Toxic to humans; toxic to dogs, cats, and horses|
Learn more about Pet-Friendly Gardens! here.
Moon Flower Care
Maintaining moon flower vines is relatively simple with regular watering and feeding.
They rarely suffer from any seriuos pest infestation or disease problems.
As they have a climbing habit, it is a good idea to provide them with a trellis or other support structure they can rely on.
Moreover, you should also allow them to spread naturally as ground cover or grow them in hanging baskets or in containers.
If you can, you can also plant them near a deck or bedroom window where you can enjoy their sweet fragrance at night.
However, if you don’t want to vines to reseed, you should remove the spent flowers before they drop seeds.
This deadheading process will help to promote further blooming on the vines.
When you intend to grow moon flowers as an annual, as most gardeners prefer, you can start new plants that following year rather than trying to overwinter them.
This is because vines can be difficult to care for indoors.
When you grow them as year-round outdoor vines as perennials, you can prune them and shape them as you want them.
Thin vines tend to improve airflow around the plant and open it up to the sunlight.
In hot regions of southeast and south central U.S. and in Hawaii, people consider this plant invasive.
Moreover, you should grow this plant with caution agaisnt its escape into natural areas.
This caution is not necessary for cooler regions as the plant dies out yearly.
Light and Soil Requirments
Moon flower tends to grow best in full sum, which means that at least 6 hours of direct sunlight is important.
Moreover, it can adapt to partially shady conditions but may not flower.
It is important to note that this plant is able to tolerate a number of soil types.
However, it tends to thrive best in rich, loamy soil with good drainage.
And a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH is also good for this good.
Learn more about Soil Amendments: Improving the Garden Soil here.
Water, Temperature, and other Requirments
It is important to note that moon flower tend to thrive with a moderate amount of soil moisture.
Water young plants regularly, so that the soil remains moist but not soggy. Soil that is too wet can lead to root rot.
On the other hand, when the plant establishes, water it when the top of the soil feels dry.
The vine can also tolerate short periods of drought however, a long dry spell can kill the plant.
These vines tend to thrive in summer warmth and humidity in zones 3 to 9 and will be perennial in zones 10 to 12.
In case you are residing in a cooler climate, you will need to wait to plant them outside until the temperature is reliably around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
These plants tend to thrive best in high humidity levels like their native conditions.
However, they will not tolerate dry air if they are kept well-watered.
Make sure to fertilize every three to four weeks with a half-strength, high-phosphorus fertilizer when the plant is blooming.
Furthermore, avoid high nitrogen fertilizer as it can promote excess foliage growth at the expense of blooms.
Types of Moon Flower
In most cases, you can find Ipomoea alba without a variety of designations.
Some plants that are just like the common name moon flower include:
Ipomoea leptophylla: This one is an erect, flowering plant that in some cases, goes by the name bush moonflower.
You can also hear the name bush morning glory for this flower.
Ipomoea violacea: Commonly known as the beach moonflower or sea moonflower.
Its white flowers tend to open at night.
Propagation Tips and Techniques
It is important to note that moon flowers can be difficult to propagate by rooting vegetative stem cuttings.
Therefore, many gardens rarely attempt it.
However, the plant tends to self-seed very freely, so it can be easy to get new plants by transplanting the volunteers that readily sprout up from the seeds that drop in the garden.
Here’s how you can do it:
Look for tiny seedling plants that are sprouting in your garden.
In most cases, these will appear in spring in the spot where the mature plants’ previous plants drop their seeds.
With the help of a garden trowel, carefully dig up and transplant the volunteer seedling to a new spot.
Be careful as moon flower does not like when you disturb its roots.
However, if you propagate late in the season, you can transplant them into small individual pots to grow indoors over the winter.
Then remove them outdoors in the spring.
When you are potting the plant indoor seedlings will need a small support structure to hold the vines.
These will grow rapidly in such cases, Peat planting containers are a good option for this method.
Growing Moon Flower from Seed
When you are harvesting seeds from the already existing vines, make sure that they are fully dry before you collect them from the seed pots left behind after the flower fade.
You can start the seeds indoors roughly 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date projections.
Soak the seeds overnight in warm water or slightly nick them with a file.
Do this to break their hard coating.
Then, plant them about 1/4 inch deep in a seed-starting mix.
In most cases, experts recommend to use a biodegradable peat pot that you can buy in the garden as moonflower does not as their roots disturbed with transplanting.
Place the seeds in a warm location that gets bright, indirect sunlight, and keep the soil moist until seedlings appear.
Once the outdoor temperature is reliably warm, you can acclimate the seedlings to direct sunlight by placing them outdoors for increasingly long stretches every day.
After a week or so of the hardening-off procedure, you can transplant the seedlings outdoors.
Learn more about Ficus Microcarpa Care and Growth here.
Overwintering the Plant
If you are growing a moon flower in cold-winter zones as an annual, you will need to pull the entire plant from the ground when the flower fade.
You will need to do this when the foliage begins to wither and turn brown.
Leaving the vines in one place can lead to a large number of volunteer seedlings in the spring.
As these plants self-seed so vigorously, it s best not to add the dead plant to compost heaps as a number of seeds are likely to survive.
However, in warm-weather zones where moon flowers continue to grow as perennials, winter is the ideal time to survey the ground
You can pluck out the plant to prevent uncontrolled spread.
Common Plant Diseases and Problems
Your moon flower can suffer from black rot. It is a bacterial disease that thrives in humid conditions.
You can remedy it by separating thick vines to promote air circulation and never watering from overhead or at night.
This will keep the plant drier.
Though moon flower is an easy-going plant that needs little care, it can still suffer a few problems that you can fix them. These are:
Yellow Lesion on the Edges of Leaves: This means that your moon flower is suffering from black rot, in most cases.
If you do not treat this disease, it will force your plant to drop its leaves.
However, you can fix this as it comes from overcrowding and too much moisture.
Untangle your vines to space them and avoid watering them in the evening or from above.
Seedling Die for No Reason: This one is a damping-off disease and tends to occur to healthy seedlings without warning.
In order to avoid this from occurring, do not over-water seedlings and do not overcrowd them in your garden.
Moreover, thin your plants out so that they get more air circulation as it will help avoid damping off.
When you are starting seeds, use a porous seed-starter mix apart from standard potting soil and make air-circulation is good to prevent damping-off fungus.
Getting Moon Flower to Bloom
When your plant becomes creamy, white blooms open at night and provide a light, sweet fragrance.
The plant produces flowers all summer till the frost.
You will need to deadhead them the ones you can reach, however, it will continue to flower if you are unable to get them all.
Moreover, moon flower generally blooms if it gets enough sun and you water them regularly.
Add fertilizer to your watering routine, as they like a high phosphorus variety, which will help the plant produce more flowers.