Ipomoea – Morning Glory

Ipomoea is the Latin name for morning glory, so called because its flowers open in the morning sunshine but fade by the end of the afternoon. It looks and behaves like our own convolvulus, and is related to it, but comes from South America, and is not hardy in this country. ‘Heavenly Blue’ is the most popular variety – a cultivar of I. tricolor which produces purple and blue flowers from July to September. It grows to about 3 m (10 ft). I. purpurea is similar but has smaller flowers, and is slightly hardier. The species flowers are purple, but there are different coloured cultivars, including ‘Alba’ with white flowers and ‘Rosea’ with pink flowers.

Ipomoea - Morning Glory

General care: Ipomoea likes a warm, sunny, sheltered site, although I. purpurea will tolerate some shade. It is treated as an annual in this country. It can be grown up a south-facing wall or fence, or up sticks or poles in a sheltered corner. It likes a compost-rich soil, and needs plenty of water during the growing season. Plant out 30 cm (12 inches) apart in late May, when all danger of frost has passed, but in a cold spring delay planting until the weather warms. up. Propagation: Germinate the seeds at a temperature of 18°C (65°F) in a soil-less compost after nicking the hard seed coat. Prick out into 10-cm (4-inch) pots, and harden off carefully.

Pests and diseases: The young shoots may be attacked by aphids, leaf-hoppers or thrips. Spray with malathion at once. Generally disease-free.

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