Moon Flower: Tropical White Morning Glory

Moon flower generally is a beautiful addition to any flower backyard. This vining plant is a quick grower that can readily connect itself to any kind of help construction and create a vertical wall of flowers in your backyard. They produce stunning white flowers which can be rounded and might be the scale of a salad plate (about 6 inches in diameter). Though the white selection might be the preferred they do are available in different colours equivalent to pink, purple and blue. 

Moonflower is definitely an in depth relative to the candy potato vine (Ipomoea batatas). In contrast to its Ipomoea sibling, I. alba will not be edible; like most morning glory species it produces seeds that may be mildly poisonous to animals. (Technically talking, candy potato seeds shouldn’t be consumed by canine/cats/horses both, though they’re barely safer!) On the brilliant aspect, it’s pretty straightforward to maintain pets away from moonflower seeds.

There are two different shut relations that fall below the larger class of moon flowers too: Ipomoea leptophylla (aka bush moonflower) and Ipomoea violacea (seashore moonflower or sea moonflower, relying on who you speak to). Rising moonflowers is sort of straightforward, and beneath we’ll focus on their care necessities. 

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Fast Care Information

White morning glory
Moonflower can also be referred to as tropical white morning glory. Supply: Scott Zona
Frequent Identify Moonflower plant, tropical white morning glory, moon vine
Scientific Identify Ipomoea alba
Household Convolvulaceae
Top & Unfold As much as 4ft large and 8ft tall
Gentle Full solar
Soil Unfastened, well-drained soil
Water One to 2 deep waterings per week
Pests & Ailments Hornworms, black rot

All About The Moon Flower

Ipomoea alba, also called the moonflower plant, moon vine, or tropical white morning glory is commonly confused with Datura which is analogous in look, however a very completely different species and plant kind. Daturas exist within the Solanaceae household with lethal nightshade. Datura is usually mistakenly referred to as moonflower however is extra sometimes called thornapples, jimsonweeds, and satan’s trumpets. Datura species are extremely hallucinogenic, whereas moonflower will not be. One other technique to distinguish between the 2 is that Datura flowers bloom in the course of the daytime, whereas moonflower will solely start to bloom within the late afternoon into the evening. Moonflowers will start to shut because the solar rises. They might keep open on cloudy days, nonetheless. 

Moonflower crops originated in tropical and subtropical areas of northern and South America. Because of this, moonflower vines develop finest in southern zones. They are often grown in a perennial flower backyard in USDA zones 9-12 however can be grown as annuals in all different zones. Moon flowers bloom alongside lengthy vines that put out darkish inexperienced heart-shaped leaves. These moonflower vines will sprawl alongside the bottom except they’re given a construction to climb. 

Varieties Of Moon Flower Crops

Moonflower buds
A superb aspect view of moonflower buds. Supply: Starr

There are two different sorts of moonflowers which can be part of the Ipomoea species: bush moonflower and seashore moonflower. Bush moonflower, as its title suggests, doesn’t develop as a vine however moderately varieties a bushy clump. As an alternative of the usual heart-shaped leaves, they’ve lengthy slender, skinny leaves. Seaside moonflower or sea moonflower has thicker leaves and prefers coastal environments equivalent to mangrove swamps. 

Moon Flower Care

Rising moonflower crops could be very straightforward given they’re a voracious climbing vine and might even be thought of a weed in some areas. Moonflower vines develop below quite a lot of situations, however we’ll focus on the optimum situations wanted to get essentially the most flowers to bloom. 

Solar and Temperature

Moonflower crops do finest when planted in an space of the backyard in full solar that receives no less than 6-8 hours of direct daylight per day. These tropical flowers might be grown as a perennial in USDA zones 9-12. They are going to be grown as an annual in all different zones. Moonflower vines can be grown as far north as USDA zones 3-4 so long as they’re grown in the course of the warmest mid-summer months. That being mentioned, the best out of doors temperatures for moonflowers are between 65-85 levels Fahrenheit. As soon as nighttime lows are reliably within the 60s then that could be a good time to direct sow your moonflower seed. In colder climates with shorter rising seasons, you might wish to begin your moonflower seeds indoors 6-8 weeks earlier than you propose to transplant them out. 

Water and Humidity

Ipomoea alba foliage and flowers
Ipomoea alba foliage and flowers. Supply: Starr

The very best time of day to water your moonflower vine is within the early morning which is able to permit the water to penetrate earlier than the solar has an opportunity to evaporate it from the soil. Moonflower crops can survive in quite a lot of situations and are comparatively drought-tolerant, nonetheless, a deep watering one to 2 occasions per week will yield essentially the most progress and extra blooms. Water on the base of the vines with a soaker hose. For the reason that moonflower vine is native to tropical climates it prefers a reasonably excessive humidity degree. Nevertheless, it’s going to tolerate dry air so long as it’s saved properly watered. 


When planting moonflowers in your gardens you will need to select a web site with unfastened, well-drained soil. In case your native soil will not be splendid then you might select to develop moonflower crops in a container as an alternative. This manner, you may extra simply management the soil situations and make changes as wanted. They are often grown in giant containers, no less than 12 inches deep, with loads of drainage holes on the base. The moonflower vine can survive poor soil situations and customarily doesn’t want something aside from good drainage. They won’t, nonetheless, tolerate acidic soil and do their finest in impartial soil. 

Fertilizing Moon Flower

Since moonflower crops are a vigorous vine, it’s not completely essential to fertilize them. Nevertheless, should you select to present it a lift, then there are some things to notice. An excessive amount of nitrogen fertilizer will enhance the expansion of the foliage however will restrict the variety of occasions moonflowers bloom. Half-strength excessive phosphorus fertilizer is the higher option to encourage extra blooms in your moonflower vine. A liquid fertilizer utilized in early summer time will assist enhance your blooms for the rest of the season. 

Pruning & Coaching Moon Flowers

Moonflower crops develop finest on a help like a trellis, fence, or pergola. Plant them alongside the bottom of your help construction and because the crops develop tall sufficient, lean them over to your trellis and gently connect them with a plant twist tie or string. This can encourage them to achieve on this course. They may ultimately develop tiny tendrils, seize onto the construction on their very own, and proceed to climb. 

When moonflower crops are grown as a perennial, they need to be pruned again to the bottom within the autumn and the roots protected with mulch over the winter. Your plant will come again to life within the spring. When grown as an annual you may reduce the vines as they develop to manage the unfold or give an general form as wanted and desired. 

Ipomoea alba seed pods
Ipomoea alba seed pods are fairly giant. Supply: Cerlin Ng


Though moonflowers are grown as an annual in most areas, they are going to readily self-seed and preserve coming again yr after yr as soon as they’ve established a patch in your gardens. You may as well gather the moonflower seeds on the finish of the season and plant them in a extra intentional row or sample or transfer them to different areas. The white flowers solely bloom as soon as. After the flower has wilted, you’ll then see the seed pods start to kind as a substitute. Permit the seed pods to completely mature on the plant after which take away them to dry. The next spring will probably be time to plant your seeds! Since moonflower seeds have such a thick seed coat, there are just a few tips to assist assist in increased germination charges. You should definitely nick the outer layer of the seeds’ seed coat with a nail file and soak the seeds in a single day in heat water. Select your planting web site and preserve seeds evenly moist till they start to sprout new crops. 

Moonflower can be propagated by way of cuttings, though this technique is much less dependable. Take a slicing of the vine slightly below the leaf node and take away foliage on the underside 2-3 inches of the stem. Place the stem in a glass of water, and you must see roots start to kind in just a few weeks. As soon as the roots have appeared, you might transplant them to your planting web site outside, or they’ll even be grown indoors in a pot so long as they obtain sufficient daylight. 

Troubleshooting Moon Flower

Moonflower with slight damage
Barely-damaged moonflower and leaves. Supply: Dinesh Valke

As talked about above, moonflower vines are comparatively straightforward to develop and care for so long as they’re supplied with weekly deep waterings and well-draining soil. There are just a few points value noting, nonetheless. 

Rising Issues

A scarcity of daylight can drastically scale back the variety of blooms and that’s the rationale that we’re rising this vine within the first place! If you happen to discover lackluster vine progress and no blooms, then take into account the position in your backyard. They might want extra daylight! That is one plant that won’t tolerate being planted in floor partly shade. 


As beforehand talked about, moonflowers are a good way to draw nocturnal pollinators to your backyard. Nevertheless, that does include a possible draw back. Moonflowers are recognized to draw hummingbird moths to your backyard, that are useful pollinators. The hummingbird moth larval stage are caterpillars known as hornworms and have a really comparable look to the dreaded tomato hornworm. Nevertheless, they aren’t the identical and don’t trigger the identical destruction to your crops! Hornworms will chomp on foliage however usually are not practically as damaging as tomato hornworms. 

That being mentioned, moonflowers also can appeal to the 5 noticed hawk moth, the species whose eggs produce the dreaded tomato hornworm! It’s finest to discover ways to determine these moths and all levels of their life cycle as a way to appropriately eliminate potential pests as you come throughout them. I’ve discovered that checking the undersides of leaves recurrently will assist with pest administration, particularly should you start to note tiny holes in your leaves. Spraying your crops with BT spray can scale back the larval numbers. Take away particles and leaf litter on the finish of the season to keep away from offering the caterpillars with the right overwintering web site. Tomato hornworms will overwinter of their chrysalis stage. 


Black rot is a bacterial illness that may have an effect on moonflowers in sizzling and humid climate. It seems as yellowish-orange, V-shaped markings on the outer edges of the leaves and ultimately causes the leaves to fall off. To stop this illness, don’t crowd your crops collectively. Illness issues usually are not frequent, and you can also make certain they’ve good air circulation as a preventative measure. Be certain that they’re planted in your backyard with satisfactory house, and selectively prune when wanted. There aren’t any therapies for black rot as soon as the illness has occurred. Nevertheless, copper fungicide that’s labeled to be used on cruciferous greens might assist restrict extra illness improvement and unfold although this illness is attributable to a bacterium.  

Continuously Requested Questions

Moon flower
Moon flower is a stunning evening bloomer. Supply: Scott Zona

Q: How ought to I take advantage of moonflower within the panorama?

A: This climbing vine does finest when grown on a trellis and might make a surprising addition to an arch on the entrance to your backyard. An arch or arbor with morning glories rising on one aspect and moonflowers on the opposite will offer you blooms durin the day and at evening too. The morning glories on one half will bloom within the morning after which within the late afternoon and into the night, the moonflowers will bloom on their half of the trellis.

Q: Can moonflowers develop in pots?

A: Sure, they are often grown in pots within the backyard so long as they’re sufficiently deep sufficient for the foundation system (no less than 12 inches deep). 

Q: Do moonflowers come again yearly?

A: They are often grown as a perennial vine in USDA zones 9 and up. In decrease zones, they are going to be annuals, though they are going to readily self-seed and might come again yr after yr by way of seeds which have dropped from the earlier yr’s moonflower crops. 

Q: Are moon flowers toxic to the touch?

A: They don’t seem to be! Ipomoea will not be poisonous to folks, young children, or pets, nonetheless, it bears a placing resemblance to Datura which can also be typically known as moonflower and might have hallucinogenic results if ingested. 

Q: Can moonflower get you excessive?

A: No, moonflower can’t get you excessive. As talked about above, this can be a frequent false impression that comes from the confusion between Ipomoea alba and Datura. 

Q: What’s particular a couple of moonflower?

A: It has stunning white flowers surrounded by deep inexperienced heart-shaped leaves. There are only a few nocturnal blooms and these can be utilized to assist appeal to nighttime pollinators to your backyard which might be useful when you have different nocturnal blooms that you simply want to be pollinated like dragon fruit. 

Q: Are moon flowers unlawful?

A: Ipomoea alba will not be unlawful. Rising moonflowers will not be unlawful both.

Q: Do hummingbirds like moonflowers?

A: Since they’re night-blooming, it’s unlikely that hummingbirds can be out and about whereas the flowers are in bloom. Hummingbird moths, nonetheless, will certainly be interested in your backyard at any time when these flowers are in bloom. 

Q: Are you able to scent moonflower?

A: Sure, they’ve a candy perfume just like orange blossoms. 

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