How to grow the morning glory plant

13 deg C/55 deg F. see text

There is considerable difference of opinion about the naming of this genus. The popular name morning glory is usually applied to /. tricolor, which is also called /. rubrocaerulea and Pharbitis tricolor.

It is raised from seed quite easily on a warm window-sill in early spring. For germination, a temperature of 20 deg C (68 deg F) should be maintained. The seedlings can be expected to appear within two to three weeks. It hastens germination if the large seeds can be soaked in tepid water for about 48 hours before being sown.

There are now a number of fancy forms, but still the most beautiful is the old favourite ‘Heavenly Blue’, with large convolvulus-like flowers in a glorious vivid-blue, and very freely produced. ‘Flying Saucers’ is striped blue and

white, and ‘Wedding Bells’ is mauve. ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ is probably derived from PharbiUs purpurea (syn. /. purpurea), and there is a form ‘Sapphire Cross’ with very large vivid-blue and white flowers. which is probably a hybrid. All of these plants are vigorous climbers and are best regarded as annuals, being discarded after flowering. The more height they can be given the better, and in the home they are usually trained up bamboo canes. A position in a tall. sunny window or by patio doors will give the most impressive display, but they can be kept low by snipping off the tops of the growing stems to induce plenty of base growth. They are self-twining and support themselves. The flowers open only during the morning and fade by early afternoon, but there are usually abundant buds ready for opening every morning over a long period.

The seedlings do not like chilly conditions, and as a result may grow slowly and poorly and turn yellow. The final pot size depends on the space available, and can go up to20cm (5 in.) for tall windows or porches, when 1.5m (5ft) canes can be provided for the plants to climb up. Where there is plenty of room, three seedlings can be put in a 25cm (10in) pot. A position in good light is essential.

and the compost should be kept nicely moist all the time. The most likely pests are greenfly, blackfly. whitefly and red spider mites.

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