Dwarf Morning Glory – Convolvulus tricolor

Unlike its close relative, Ipomoea, or common Morning Glory, Convolvulus is a low-growing bushy plant. Both belong to the same family, the Convolvulaceae. The plant looks loveliest when grown in full sun, but it can tolerate some shade. The flowers open during the day and close again at the end of the afternoon.

The individual flowers grow from the upper leaf axils. They are trumpet-shaped, with bright yellow centres surrounded first by a white star and then by a velvety, deep blue. The leaves are rather small, dark green, narrow and pointed.

Dwarf Morning Glory will reach a maximum height of 38cm (15in). The plant spreads laterally to about 60cm (2ft). The flowers are about 3.5cm (1 ½in) wide.

Colours and varieties

Convolvulus tricolor ‘Blue Flash’ is available in mixed colours, which range from shades of red and pink to blue. C. tricolor ‘Royal Ensign’ is a trailing plant with blue, yellow and white flowers.

Display ideasDwarf Morning Glory - Convolvulus tricolor

This colourful plant can be interplanted with green leafy plants, or plants that have only a few flowers. The trailing variety is suitable for a hanging basket.

To achieve a mixed display throughout the summer, remove the flower heads as they fade.

Through The Year

March—April

Sow plants indoors in March, using a seed-sowing potting compost. Place two seeds in each pot or in each hole in a propagating tray. If both germinate, remove the weakest. Sow seed outdoors in

April and thin out to 20cnn (8in) apart.

May—June

Plant out seedlings grown indoors on the balcony or patio in May or June, depending on the weather conditions.

July—October

Plants will start to bloom in midsummer and continue until October, or the first frosts. If some of the last flowers are left to die on the plant, their seeds can be used the next year.

Pests And Diseases

The leaves and flowers hang and the flowers start to drop if the plant lacks water.

Treatment: Water well but drain off any excess.

Whitish leaves and petals are a sign of mildew, caused by a fungus attack.

Prevention: Mist spray your plants regularly. If an attack occurs you will have to treat the plants by spraying with a fungicide. Make sure the plants do not dry out by watering regularly.

PLANT CARE

Given a sunny position and sufficient water the plant will almost take care of itself. Remove the withered flowers regularly to get a succession of flowers.

  • Potting: Use a seed-sowing potting compost if you are raising your plants from seed. Plant out seedlings in a well-draining soil-based potting compost.
  • Water generously once a week in summer unless the weather is very dry, in which case you will have to water more frequently. The leaves and petals will curl if the plants are not kept moist enough. The top growth dies in late autumn.
  • Feeding: Add a standard liquid fertilizer every second or third time you water.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: Place in full sun if possible, although the plant will also do well in partial shade.
  • Temperature: This plant does best at temperatures of 18-21°C (65-70°F).

Buying Tips

  • Buy seeds in the spring or late winter. Young plants for growing on are available in late spring or early summer.
  • If you are buying seeds, be sure to check the date stamp on the packet to ensure they are fresh for the current season. Young plants should be growing vigorously and have a compact shape. Avoid any that are leggy.
  • This plant is an annual that dies back after the first frosts of autumn.

Dwarf Morning Glory is a hardy summer annual that produces a succession of cheerful flowers from midsummer until the autumn. Grow them on a balcony or patio.

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