Sunday, February 17, 2013

Moon Flowers

Annual, Perennial, Ipomea
Moonflowers are nocturnal bloomers, perfect for night owls and late night strollers. After sunset, these huge white flowers bloom and glow all night in the moonlight. Then, as the sun rises, they close their fragrant blooms.

Moonflowers are a vining plant, and can grow as much as 12-18 feet in a single year. They are perennial in their native tropical homes, and used as annuals in more northerly areas.

Moonflower plants are prolific climbers with attractive leaves. When growing moonflowers, make sure to plant them where they can climb quickly towards the moon. Plant them along patios and sidewalks, where people are likely to be in early evening hours.
Moonflower seeds can be cranky and germination sporadic, but the results are worth a little extra effort. They need a long growing season, so start them indoors about now, but don't transplant them outside until after the last frost date, once the soil has thoroughly warmed and the weather settled.
Try soaking the seeds overnight and presprouting by placing them between several layers of paper towel kept damp inside a plastic bag. Leave the bag unsealed on the kitchen counter. Check them regularly for sprouting.

Some seeds will sprout in three or four days; others will take as long as several weeks
Plant sprouted seeds in peat pots. Fill peat pots with soil-less planting medium 3/4 inch from the pot's rim. Moisten with water. Place 2 or 3 vine seeds on the soil and cover with 1/2 inch of soil-less mix. Water again gently. Planted peat pots should be kept moist and in a warm location until the seedlings are large enough to transplant. Start vines indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last anticipated frost.
Prepare seedlings for transplant. Moonflower vine seeds germinate in around 3 weeks. Before planting, thin seedlings to one vine per pot. Remove weak or extra seedlings by cutting them with scissors. Do not pull seedlings from the soil. Pulling may damage the tender roots of the remaining seedling. Seedlings that are ready for planting should have formed 2 or 3 leaves.

 Choose outdoor planting location. It prefers a location that receives full sun and the soil should be moist and well-drained. Choose a location that provides the vine ample support, such as a trellis, arbor or fence, and away from other plants. The Moonflower vine can grow up to 40 feet in height with tendrils that can, if left unchecked, engulf nearby plants or trees.


Transplant the seedling. Loosen the soil in the desired planting area. Dig a hole slightly larger than the peat pot and the same depth. Place the peat pot and seedling in the planting hole and lightly cover with the original soil. The peat pot will disintegrate in the soil and will provide added nutrients. Gently water the transplanted seedling.

Imagine this covered with all different types of climbing flowers

Collect seeds. Moonflower vine seeds are easy to gather for next year's garden. When the husks that follow the white blooms become black and dry, they can be gathered and stored in a dry place. The seeds are the size of a garbanzo bean and white in color.

These last few paragraphs were taken from articles word for word around the internet!

My words!
Gathering information on moonflowers.  I tried to start these last year with little success.  I ended up buying a few plants.  I got these amazing 6-8" flowers!  It was great until the landscapers came and thought they were weeds(:
Nick first, then soak overnight
Any seeds floating on top the next day aren't any good
Try Bottom heating after planting?
Plant in at least 6" of wet soil.  Plant seeds 1/4" down.
Instead of starting seeds in dirt, wrap in a damp paper towel then put in ziplock bags.  This is the way I am trying.

Will repost when seeds germinate

Day 4  looks like something is happening!

***I tried these at work and they never germinated because it was too cold.  Started a fresh set of morning glories and moonflowers. make sure you give the shell a good nick, the seeds will swell slightly overnight.  I wrapped them in a moist paper towel and rolled them up, all seeds sprouted, just transplanted them into small pots.

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