Morning glory flowers have as many as 1,000 species with the Heavenly Blue as the most common type. These climbing plants are fragrant and have trumpet-like flowers with heart-shaped leaves. It’s their worm-like stem, however, that gave it its genus name. Ipomoea comes from the combined Greek words ips and homois which means “worm” and “like,” respectively.
They’re also called morning glory because of the flowers’ short blooming time — they bloom in the early morning and close up in the afternoon. For this reason, the flowers are known to symbolize unrequited love and affection.
Blue Morning Glory (Ipomoea indica)
Also known as the Blue Dawn Flower, this plant has lush, velvet-like leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers that are 3-4 inches in width. In the morning, the petals are bright blue, and during the day they change to purplish-pink. A great climber, the Blue Morning Glory is the winner of several international flower awards and does best in well-drained soil and full sun. Butterflies and hummingbirds love this flower, and it looks great in hanging baskets, containers, and as groundcovers.
Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea quamoclit)
Also called the Hummingbird Vine, this flower has beautiful scarlet petals with white centers and finely divided, slender foliage. They look great as a cover for fences, pergolas, and walls, and they provide a great source of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds. Native to tropical America, the plants bloom from early Summer to early Fall, and they are deer-resistant. They grow best in full shade, and they are virtually disease- and pest-free.
Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea x sloteri)
This type of Cardinal Climber grows up to 12 feet high and 12 inches wide and is fiery-red in color with white throats, making it a real eye-catcher. It does best in full sun or partial shade and it can perfectly cover walls, trellises, and arbors. The plant can tolerate some dry conditions, but it does much better with regular watering. In addition, they are deer-resistant, and hummingbirds and butterflies love them.
Grandpa Ott (Ipomoea nil)
An heirloom flower from Bavaria, Germany, its heart-shaped leaves are emerald-green and it has flowers that are intense royal-purple and trumpet-shaped. The petals open in the morning and show off a ruby-red, star-shaped throat, which is quite stunning. Blooming continuously from early Summer to early Fall, the Grandpa Ott’s flowers grow up to 3 inches wide on vines up to 10 feet tall. They are perfect along walls or fences, require no pruning, and hummingbirds and butterflies love them. They also self-seed very easily. They are also virtually pest- and disease-free.
Heavenly Blue (Ipomoea tricolor)
With petals of vibrant, azure blue and centers of white and yellow, this flower is truly stunning. It has won several international flower awards, and it has large, heart-shaped leaves that perfectly complement the beautiful petals. If you have an unattractive fence, this is a perfect way to cover it, and it also looks great in containers, as groundcovers, and in hanging baskets. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them, and they get up to 10 feet high, making them very noticeable. They are deer-resistant and look perfect in cottage gardens.
Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
A beautiful flower with a sweet scent and an attractive white color, the Moonflower has petals that open up in the evenings and close in the mornings when the sun touches them. At dusk the buds, which are thick and compact, open up, and the petals unfold within minutes. They have a pale-green star in the center, which is highlighted once the petals are open. Their sweet fragrance is more noticeable when they’re open as well, and the night air is saturated with its pleasantness. When dawn arrives, the flower’s 3- to 6-inch-wide petals roll up and close. The plant has elegant, heart-shaped, deep-green leaves that highlight its white color, and it blooms continuously from mid-Summer to the Fall. In addition, the stems grow up to 15 inches tall, it is deer-resistant, and it looks amazing as walls, fences, or pergolas.
Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea)
Also known as the Tall Morning Glory, it grows up to 10 feet high and has petals that are deep purple-blue with white throats. Their foliage is heart-shaped and beautiful, and they close up in the afternoon. They prefer full sun and well-drained, moist soil, and they are resistant to deer but not to hummingbirds and butterflies! It climbs quickly, and these days it comes in additional colors, such as white, red, magenta, pink, and blue. The flowers are native to Central America and Mexico, and they are virtually free of diseases and pests.
Scarlett O’Hara (Ipomoea nil)
Just like its name suggests, these flowers are bright-red in color and have beautiful white throats. They open in the mornings and get up to 5 inches wide, with emerald-green, heart-shaped leaves and a blooming period from early Summer to early Fall. They self-seed easily and look beautiful in cottage gardens and Mediterranean gardens. They do well in full sun and evenly moist soil, and they easily attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The plants grow up to 10 feet in height and require no pruning, and they look great in containers and hanging baskets.
Beach Morning Glory
Petals of light- to medium-pink and creamy-white outlines around each petal.
Blue Silk (Ipomoea x imperialis)
These petals are soft-blue and have white edging and white stripes.
Blue Star (Ipomoea tricolor)
Light-blue petals and a star of dark blue.
Chocolate (Ipomoea nil)
Lily-like in shape, their petals are a very pale pink and contain white stripes.
Crimson Rambler (Ipomoea purpurea)
An heirloom flower with burgundy-rose petals and a white throat.
Early Call (Ipomoea nil)
Flowers in a mixture of colors, including blue, white, rose, pink, and lavender; some of these flowers can have white edges.
Flying Saucers (Ipomoea tricolor)
Petals of pale-blue or white that are streaked with purple.
Glacier Moon (Ipomoea tricolor)
Petals that are pale ice blue.
These bloom sporadically throughout the year and have petals of deep-red, yellow centers, and a strip of white in between.
Japanese Morning Glory
Beautiful white petals with red flushes all over the petals themselves.
Kniola’s Black (Ipomoea purpurea)
These have a white throat and the petals are a very deep blue.
Their petals are bright yellow in color and very small.
Milky Way (Ipomoea purpurea)
These have petals that are white with five carmine stripes.
Minibar Rose (Ipomoea x imperialis)
The petals are rose-crimson and have a white throat; they sometimes a central star and edging, and the leaves are lobed and variegated.
Morning Star (Ipomoea purpurea)
Their petals have white throats and come in a mix of purple, rose, white, violet, blue, and pink.
Mt. Fuji Mix (Ipomoea x imperialis)
These flowers have petals in mixed colors of crimson, pink, pale-blue, purple, and deep violet; their edges are white and they have white stripes; they also have lobed, variegated leaves.
Lavender petals with white trim around each separate petal.
Pearly Gates (Ipomoea tricolor)
These have pure-white flowers.
Beautiful reddish-pink petals trimmed in white.
A Christmas vine, their petals are white with greenish-yellow centers.
Rose Silk (Ipomoea x imperialis)
The Rose Silk has petals of soft pink and a white throat; the leaves are variegated.
Scarlett Star (Ipomoea nil)
Cerise-colored petals with a beautiful white star-like center.
Tie Dye (Ipomoea x imperialis)
These have lavender petals and various purple-striped patterns.
Wedding Bells (Ipomoea tricolor)
Beautiful lavender-pink petals.
Small white flowers with yellow centers.
Woolly Morning Glory
Also called the Hawaiian Baby Woodrose or the Elephant Creeper, it has tightly clustered and is lavender in white.
Items That are Related to the Morning Glory Flowers
Mostly black or blue in color, there are over 1,600 species.
Rice paddies (Sphenoclea zeylanica)
Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea pandurate)
Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas)
Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica)
Also known as Chinese or river spinach.
Interesting Things to Know About the Morning Glory Flower
- Its seeds were used in China as an herbal laxative remedy at one time.
- The water Morning Glory, or Water Spinach – also called Ipomoea aquatica – is eaten in certain parts of Asia just like a vegetable.
- The seeds of the Morning Glory flower are toxic if you eat them. In fact, in many varieties of this flower, the seeds have a psychedelic effect that is very similar to LSD if you take it in large doses.
- The words used to describe the Morning Glory flower have certain meanings – the word Ipomoea comes from the Greek words that mean “worm-like,” and the flower is called this because of its worm-like stems.
- The Morning Glory has a short lifespan, which symbolizes unrequited affection and love in flower language.
- The Morning Glory consists of 50 genera and over 1,000 species.
- Their vines can grow up to 20 feet high, and with a little support they can easily climb over fences, walls, and other items.
- Most of them have lush, heart-shaped foliage with dark leaves that can grow up to 5 inches long and up to 3 inches wide.
- Some of the Morning Glory flowers bloom at night instead of during the daytime.
- The variety known as the Blue Dawn can produce 300 flowers a day and several bloom periods per season.
- If you grow them on trellises, arbors, and fences, they can actually produce a cooling effect and make the area much more comfortable during the summer months.
- There are known nutrients and medicinal benefits of Morning Glories, including the ability to produce a calming, cleansing, and purifying effect; its antioxidant, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties; and its ingredients such as aspartic acid, tropine, pseudo-tropine, cysteine, and arginine. It has also been used with St. John’s Wort, both of which have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression and are often used in place of prescription medications.
- It is best not to use the seeds because they can produce negative effects; however, the petals can be used as a tea as a way to promote better health and create some of the benefits listed above.
How to Train a Morning Glory Vine
- Make sure the fixture is sturdy enough to support the Morning Glory flowers. If you plant them at the base of a lattice, chain-link fence, arbor, or wooden fence, it should be strong enough to support the flowers nicely.
- While the plant is still small, weave it through the structure horizontally, working the vine back and forth and upward until the entire structure is filled. The natural tendency of the Morning Glory is to grow upwards towards the sky, but if you weave it through like this, it trains the vine to grow sideways, meaning you will not end up with lush growth at the top of the structure and bare stems below it. Also, Morning Glories need no tying because they are going to naturally twine around the structure.
- Once the vine reaches the top, you can then train it to go downward. Simply use the same method as you did before, except go downward instead of upward. You can even direct the vine so that it fills in any bare spots or empty areas within the structure.
- When the plant has filled in the entire structure, you can proceed to pruning it. In early Spring, whenever the flower is dormant, start pruning by removing damaged and dead growth all the way to the new, healthy growth. Once you decide on the direction you want the vine to grow, you can cut the vines at the location of the stems or buds facing that direction. Use only sharp pruning shears and make clean cuts, which makes it easier to prevent insect damage and diseases. Finally, work very slowly without ever yanking the vine, and prune only one section at a time.
- You can also train the vine to fill in all the empty spots that are there once you finish pruning.
- If your Morning Glories become unruly, messy, or all tangled up, you can cut them to the ground. Wait until late Spring or early Winter to do this, and then simply retrain the vine to grow in the direction you want it to grow. Morning Glories are resilient, sturdy, and vigorous, which means they can easily rebound from situations such as these.