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How to Care for a Moonflower Vine for Beautiful Blooms

Amazing white blooming moonflowers growing in the garden

Ipomoea Alba

Oh my gosh. The more I learn about the moonflower vine plant, the more I believe that it could very possibly be one of the most romantic flowering plants out there. Though they won’t be the star in your floral bouquet, they will turn a garden into a magical scene.

Ipomoea alba is also commonly known as the tropical white morning glory, because both plants are part of the same botanical family and have a very similar growth habit (they are also sometimes called moon vine). They share the same blooming characteristic as well, only the morning glory opens in the morning, and the moonflower opens in the evening!

Moonflower vines are beloved by gardeners for several reasons. They are wonderfully easy to grow, they grow very quickly at that. When trained properly, they can create an incredible flush of enticing fragrance and a dazzling floral display for your evening garden parties.

A moonflower vine plant can also be grown right outside your window that if kept open, the evening breeze will waft their gorgeous scent right into your home. Read on to learn all about where it likes to grow, and how to care for one on your own property!

What do Moonflower Vines Look Like?

Two lovely white moonflowers growing on vines in a dark garden

Growth Habit

When growing within its native growing region, a moonflower vine will exist as a herbaceous perennial liana (which is a fancy word for a long stemmed, woody vine). When growing outside of its its native growing region, it can exist as an annual plant that will simply perish once the cold weather arrives. .

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Moonflower vines grow incredibly quickly and can obtain height of up to 20 feet in a single year! We say height, but if they are not given something to climb they will grow horizontally. They are creeping or climbing plants with twining stems.

Leaves

Something wonderfully ornamental about the moonflower vine is that it has very charmingly shaped leaves. Each leaf is heart shaped and quite large, sometimes achieving 6 inches across! The foliage is a lovely deep, glossy green color which makes for a striking contrast against the flowers.

Flowers

And now for the reason we are all here: the moonflower itself. The moonflower is a flower that is large and generally shaped like a trumpet. They are also wonderfully fragrant and are said to have a very similar scent to orange blossoms.

Each flower is anywhere from 3 to 6 inches across and are normally an iridescent white color, though there are some specimens that will have pale pink flowers as well.

The especially interesting thing about moonflowers is their blooming habit. Moonflowers will bloom in the mid summer and last into the fall, but they will only open once the sun goes down and will close as soon as they are touched by the waking sun.

These flowers may even stay open a little bit longer into the day if it happens to be particularly cloudy outside, or they will remain open when temperatures stay a little bit cool in the early morning as well.

Where is the Moonflower Vine a Native Plant?

Growing moonflower plant growing in the sunshine in a garden

One of the most valuable things that I have learned throughout my gardening career is that by learning where a plant originally comes from, this information will really help you understand how to create a paradise for it in your own garden.

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For example, a person living in Northern Canada might have a really hard time trying to keep an orange tree happy (though they may be able to in a greenhouse!) but chances are, they could be quite successful with an Iceland poppy patch!

The moonflower vine is a tropical plant and originates in the subtropical and tropical regions of North America and South America. Their growing range begins as south as Argentina and extends up through Mexico and ends around Florida.

These plants can exist as perennials in zones 10 through 12, where it is warm enough that they can survive the winter, but they can be grown outdoors as annuals in zones 3 through 9, but they will perish once the winter approaches. They can always be brought indoors during those cold months and brought back outdoors in the spring!

What are the Growing Conditions of Moonflower Vines?

Now we get into the nitty gritty of what it means to actually grow moonflower vines! Good news: it’s very simple and be attained by pretty much anybody.

In fact, moonflower vines are so good at growing that they are actually considered as an invasive species in certain areas, so make sure to look up your area and if it is okay to introduce one of these on your property.

Moonflowers in full bloom growing on a vine next to heart shaped leaves

Soil Type

Though they can tolerate many different soil types, there are specific characteristics the soil should have in order to ensure ideal conditions for your moonflower vine.

The most important part of this condition is having well draining soil. It should also be more acidic or neutral on the pH scale, and it should have moderate fertility as well.

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A great way to accomplish all of these things is by amending the soil with compost! This will help achieve the perfect level of acidity, and it will also increase the soil content and help improve drainage as well.

Sun Exposure

Something that the moonflower vine, and all other morning glory plants are rather particular about is their amount of sun exposure that they receive. After all, they are used to a tropical climate!

Moonflower vines are sun loving creatures. This means that they should be receiving a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Though they are perfectly capable of tolerating partial shade, this can sometimes result in a less profuse blooming period.

Water Level

Moonflower vines have rather high watering requirements! They seem to perform their absolute best in moist soil, meaning that they should be receiving at least 2 inches of water per week either through precipitation or supplemental watering.

The best rule of thumb to maintaining the proper amount of water is by sticking your finger into the soil. If it is still moist just under the top soil, your plant doesn’t need watering. But remember, overwatering is also an issue, as these plants really don’t like to have “wet feet” as the gardeners like to call it.

Single moonflower still open at dawn growing in a field

Temperature

Moonflower vines are also a little bit picky about temperature. They do not really like the cold too much, but then again, neither do I! These are tropical plants and they like high heat and high humidity.

Being not cold hardy at all, moonflower vines should only be planted outside or brought outside once temperatures are at a nice balmy 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Fertilizer

Knowing that moonflower vines prefer to live in slightly fertile soil, it is safe to assume that they like to be fertilized! This can be done through incorporating compost into their soil at the beginning of their growing season.

Otherwise, you can provide your plant with a high phosphorous fertilizer about once a month during their growing season. This will help encourage more blossoms, whereas if they receive too much nitrogen, the plant will grow more foliage and focus less of growing flower buds.

Pruning

Not much needs to be done in way of pruning a moonflower vine, but it is definitely a good idea to deadhead your plant for several reasons.

Pinch away the flower blossoms at the top of your vine to help encourage further blooming further down the vine. Additionally, it is a good idea to pinch the spent flowers before they are able to go to seed.

This is because a moonflower vine is considered as being an invasive species in certain regions and they can very quickly take over an area. Picking away the spent flowers before they seed will help control the population.

How do you Propagate a Moonflower Vine?

Heart shaped moonflower vine leaves growing in the summer

Now that you know all about the ideal growing conditions for your vine, now it’s time to learn how to grow your very own! Though moonflower seeds need a little bit of encouraging to get started, once they are established, they are there to stay. Here are a few simple steps to get you started:

1. First thing that needs to be done is preparing your moonflower seeds. They live in a hard seed pod that needs to be cracked open. Then, nick the edge of your moonflower seed coat and soak them over night before planting, as they need to be softened up before they are able to germinate successfully.

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2. Start seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last threat of frost of the year. Plant moonflower seeds in small peat pots. Ensure that moist soil remains that way. Germination should occur in 3-4 weeks.

3. Once seedlings are a couple of inches tall, it should be safe to transplant them outdoors! Make sure that temperatures are 60-70 degrees and that there is no threat of frost before planting seedlings outdoors.

How are Moonflower Vines Used?

Cluster of gorgeous light pink moonflower vine flowers in the sun

Ornamental Plant

Growing moonflowers is awesome for several reasons. This vigorous vine grow super quickly and is quick to grace your property with fragrant white moonflower blossoms in no time at all.

This is a climbing vine that performs super well when they are given an arbor or a trellis to climb. If you’re not looking for a climbing vine, they also make great container plants and or can be kept in hanging baskets.

Those who love gardening know that with a little bit of care, a plant can amaze you with its beauty and vigour for life! Planting moonflowers should surely be on your list for next spring’s to-do list! Get read for a summer night made all the better by a spray of moon flower blossoms.

Not to mention, this night flowering perennial vine is a great source of nectar for night pollinators! Moths will thank you for planting moonflowers for their nightly evening snack.

Pure white moonflower in bloom in the evening

FAQs

Are moon flower vines deer resistant?

Lucky for us and lucky for the moonflower plant, larger pests like deer, rabbits, and squirrels tend to ignore the plant entirely.

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What are the damaging agents to the moonflower plant?

The things that damage a moon vine are very minimal and can easily be avoided. They are susceptible to root rot, so simply avoid waterlogged or poorly drained soils. They also don’t like to live in soil that is too high in nitrogen as this can sometimes result in a less prosperous flowering period.

Are moonflower vines an invasive species?

One must take caution if they want to grow moonflower vines. They are considered as an invasive species in some areas outside of their natural growing range, and so do your research before taking the plunge! They have roots that are hard to remove and self seed prolifically.

Are moonflower vines easy to grow?

Though moonflower seeds need a little bit of encouraging to get started, once they are established, they are there to stay. Their maintenance requirements can also easily be maintained by any skill levelled gardener.

What USDA growing zone do moonflower vines grow in?

The moonflower vine is a tropical plant and originates in the subtropical and tropical regions of North America and South America. Their growing range begins as south as Argentina and extends up through Mexico and ends around Florida.

These plants can exist as perennials in zones 10 through 12, where it is warm enough that they can survive the winter, but they can be grown outdoors as annuals in zones 3 through 9, but they will perish once the winter approaches. They can always be brought indoors during those cold months and brought back outdoors in the spring!

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How can you train a moonflower vine?

Growing moonflowers is awesome for several reasons. This vigorous vine grow super quickly and is quick to grace your property with fragrant white moonflower blossoms in no time at all.

This is a climbing vine that performs super well when they are given an arbor or a trellis to climb. If you’re not looking for a climbing vine, they also make great container plants and or can be kept in hanging baskets.

How fast do moonflower vines grow?

Moonflower vines grow incredibly quickly and can obtain height of up to 20 feet in a single year! We say height, but if they are not given something to climb they will grow horizontally. They are creeping or climbing plants with twining stems.

What is The Moonflower Vine Book?

The Moonflower Vine is a book written by Jetta Carleton. It is set in Western Missouri and follows the family of Matthew and Callie Soames, with children Leonie, Jessica, and Mary Jo.

Are moonflower vines annual plants or perennial plants?

When growing within its native growing region, a moonflower vine will exist as a herbaceous perennial liana (which is a fancy word for a long stemmed, woody vine). When growing outside of its its native growing region, it can exist as an annual plant that will simply perish once the cold weather arrives. .

Do moonflower vines need fertilizer?

Knowing that moonflower vines prefer to live in slightly fertile soil, it is safe to assume that they like to be fertilized! This can be done through incorporating compost into their soil at the beginning of their growing season.

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Otherwise, you can provide your plant with a high phosphorous fertilizer about once a month during their growing season. This will help encourage more blossoms, whereas if they receive too much nitrogen, the plant will grow more foliage and focus less of growing flower buds.

How often should a moonflower vine be watered?

Moonflower vines have rather high watering requirements! They seem to perform their absolute best in moist soil, meaning that they should be receiving at least 2 inches of water per week either through precipitation or supplemental watering.

The best rule of thumb to maintaining the proper amount of water is by sticking your finger into the soil. If it is still moist just under the top soil, your plant doesn’t need watering. But remember, overwatering is also an issue, as these plants really don’t like to have “wet feet” as the gardeners like to call it.

When do moonflowers bloom?

The especially interesting thing about moonflowers is their blooming habit. Moonflowers will bloom in the mid summer and last into the fall, but they will only open once the sun goes down and will close as soon as they are touched by the waking sun.

These flowers may even stay open a little bit longer into the day if it happens to be particularly cloudy outside, or they will remain open when temperatures stay a little bit cool in the early morning as well.

Are moonflowers and angel’s trumpets the same?

Moonflowers (ipomoea alba) and angel’s trumpets flowers (datura innoxia) are very similar in shape and appearance – them both being trumpet shaped and a lovely pure, white color – though they are not at all the same plants, nor are they part of the same plant family!

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What is the ideal soil type for a moonflower vine?

Though they can tolerate many different soil types, there are specific characteristics the soil should have in order to ensure ideal conditions for your moonflower vine.

The most important part of this condition is having well draining soil. It should also be more acidic or neutral on the pH scale, and it should have moderate fertility as well.

A great way to accomplish all of these things is by amending the soil with compost! This will help achieve the perfect level of acidity, and it will also increase the soil content and help improve drainage as well.