Family: Convolvulaceae | Genus: IPOMOEA
type : Annuals, Perennials, Vines / Ground Covers
sun exposure : Full Sun
water : Moderate Water, Regular Water
Plant Details

In this genus, ornamentals and edibles abound, from edible sweet potatoes (see Sweet Potato) to trellis-climbing morning glories and the sweet potato vines that fill out container plantings so well. Native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Most have hard seeds; to encourage faster sprouting, nick the coating or soak overnight in water before planting. For annual display, sow seeds in place after frost danger is past; or, for an earlier start, sow seeds indoors, then set out plants 68 inches apart. Use morning glory vines on fence or trellis or as ground cover. Or grow in containers; provide stakes or a wire cylinder for support, or let plant cascade. For cut flowers, pick stems with buds in various stages of development and place in deep vase; buds open on consecutive days.

moonflower, moon vine

ipomoea alba

  • Perennial in TS; USDA 10-11; annual elsewhere.
  • Fast growing (2030 feet in a season), providing quick shade for arbor, trellis, or fence.
  • Luxuriantly clothed in heart-shaped leaves to 8 inches long, closely spaced on stems.
  • Blooms from early summer until fall, showing off fragrant, 6 inches., funnel-shaped white blossoms after sundown and into the night (flowers also open on cloudy or dark days).

sweet potato vine

ipomoea batatas

  • Perennial from tuberous roots.
  • Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11, or indoor/outdoor plant.
  • Annual in US, MS; USDA 6-7.
  • For the edible sort, see Sweet Potato; the following fancy-leafed forms are grown for ornament.
  • Trailing in habit, they have leaves that vary in size from 24 inches long, range in shape from heart shaped to deeply lobed.
  • Ace of Spades has purple-black, perfectly heart-shaped leaves; those of 'Blackie' are similar in color but are deeply lobed.
  • Margarita has golden green foliage.
  • Pink Frost ('Tricolor') has green foliage with white and pink variegation.
  • Lady Fingers has medium green leaves divided into long, fingerlike lobes; veins and leafstalks are burgundy-red.
  • Sweet Caroline series features deeply toothed leaves available in green, bright lime-green, dark burgundy, red, and bronze (rust color).
  • Plants in the Illusion series have dense, deeply dissected foliage in light green or purple.
  • All of these selections look great in window boxes and hanging baskets but can overrun less vigorous companion plants.
  • Feeding by golden tortoise beetle can riddle the leaves with holes.
  • Margarita is particularly susceptible.

blue dawn flower

ipomoea indica

  • Perennial.
  • Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11.
  • Vigorous, rapid growth to 1530 feet Dark green, 212- to 7-in, heart-shaped or three-lobed leaves.
  • Clusters of 3- to 4 inches., funnel-shaped flowers from spring into fall; blooms open bright blue, then fade to pinkish purple by day's end.
  • Use to cover large bank, wall, or unsightly fence or other structure.
  • Blooms in 1 year from seed; can also be grown from cuttings, divisions, and layering of established plants.

lindeheimer morning glory

ipomoea lindheimeri

  • Perennial.
  • Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11.
  • Native from Texas to New Mexico and Mexico.
  • Deeply cleft leaves; fragrant blue flowers to 312 inches long from spring until fall.
  • Trailing habit, but not invasive.
  • Well suited to dry, chalky soils.

firecracker vine, spanish flag

ipomoea lobata (Mina lobata)

  • Perennial.
  • Zones TS; USDA 10-11; grown as annual elsewhere.
  • Grows quickly to 1015 feet Dark green, deeply lobed leaves are 4 inches long.
  • Bloom begins in late summer and continues until frost; flower spikes to 6 inches long are held above the foliage and carry tubular, 12- to 34 inches blossoms on just one side.
  • Blooms start out red, then fade to orange, yellow, and finally white; 'Citronella' features lemon-yellow flowers that age to cream and white.
  • Blossoms attract hummingbirds; also make good cut flowers.
  • Plant in fertile, well-drained soil, and provide a post, trellis, or fence for support.
  • Don't overdo the fertilizer or you'll get mostly leaves and few flowers.

cardinal climber

ipomoea xmultifida

  • Annual.
  • To 15 feet Broad leaves to 412 inches wide, each divided into 7 to 15 sharp-pointed segments to 12 inches wide.
  • Crimson flowers with a white eye bloom in summer.

morning glory

ipomoea nil

  • Annual.
  • Summer bloomer resembling Ipomoea tricolor, but with leaves that are often shallowly three-lobed (leaves of Ipomoea tricolor are unlobed).
  • The large-flowered (to 6 inches-wide) Imperial Japanese strain belongs to this species; other selections include rosy red 'Scarlett O'Hara', odd pinkish tan 'Chocolate', and mixed-color Early Call strain.
  • Flowers of 'Tie Dye' are white with bold stripes and splashes of blue or pink.

beach morning glory, railroad vine

ipomoea pes-caprae

  • Evergreen perennial.
  • Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11.
  • Native to Florida.
  • Sprawling vine grows to great length, rooting at leaf joints as it runs.
  • Medium green leaves are fleshy, 1124 inches long, notched at the tip, and nearly round to kidney shaped.
  • Pink summer flowers to 2 inches wide.
  • Useful as a ground cover on sandy saltwater beaches.

common morning glory

ipomoea purpurea

  • Perennial in TS; USDA 10-11; annual elsewhere.
  • Like Ipomoea tricolor but generally has smaller leaves and flowers.
  • Blooms in summer.
  • Rapid growth to 30 40 feet Medium green leaves are broadly oval and pointed, three lobed or unlobed.
  • First flowers appear a few weeks after sowing seed; then vine quickly covers itself in 5 inches-wide purple, blue, white, and pink blooms with pale throats, especially showy because of their many colors.
  • Water and fertilize sparingly during summer to encourage flowers.
  • Reseeds and returns in spring; watch that it doesn't escape and become a nuisance.
  • Grandpa Otts and 'President Tyler' are deep purple with a rosy red, star-shaped overlay and white throat; 'Milky Way' is pure white with a maroon star.
  • Crimson Rambler has bright red, white-throated blooms.

cypress vine

ipomoea quamoclit

  • Annual.
  • To 20 feet., with 212- to 4 inches-long, dark green leaves finely divided into slender threads.
  • Summer flowers are scarlet (rarely white), 112 inches-long tubes that flare at mouth into a five-pointed star.

morning glory

ipomoea tricolor

  • Annual.
  • Vigorous growth to 1015 feet., with large, heart-shaped leaves in light to medium green.
  • Showy, funnel-shaped to bell-like flowers are single or double, in solid colors of blue, lavender, pink, red, or white, often with throats in contrasting colors; some are bicolored or striped.
  • Most types open only in morning, fade in afternoon.
  • Bloom from summer until frost.
  • Among the most popular selections is 'Heavenly Blue', to 15 feet., bearing 4- to 5 inches., pure sky-blue flowers with yellow throat.
  • Wedding Bells is similar, but with rosy-purple blooms.
  • Flying Saucers has 4- to 5 inches white blossoms variably streaked with purplish blue.
  • Dwarf strain with white markings on the leaves (known as Spice Islands or simply as Variegated) grows only 9 inches high and spills to 1 feet across; flower colors include red, pink, blue, and bicolors.

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