The Moonflower vine, botanically Ipomoea alba. Often mistaken for its cousin, the Morning Glory, and sweet potato plant. Also, the common name moonflower is often related to datura inoxia.
While the white ipomoea opens up its glorious flowers with the dawn, moonflowers bloom come dusk and close up just before the first morning light.
The pure, dove-like white flowers belong to a special category of night-blooming flowers!
Also, when the flowers wilt, you’ll start to see gorgeous moonflower seed pods from it. They appear tear-shaped and also serve as a wonderful decoration.
A warning for lovers of both morning glory and datura — these plants look very similar.
Are Moon Flowers Poisonous?
The datura species such as the devil trumpet, angel trumpet, and jimson weed, contain highly poisonous substances while the moonflower only has mind/body altering components.
People with higher sensitivity may experience allergies even just by touching the flowers of the nightshade family.
Despite the danger, some experts use this deadly nightshade in making ointments but they do it with extra care.
Moonflower Plants Delicious Elegant Fragrance
The ornamental Moon Flower remains green and keeps its leaves most of the year.
Ipomoea alba’s real beauty is the delicious scent it gives off. It is easy to grow and you’ll enjoy how fast they open and bloom in the late afternoon.
Widely considered a perennial vine, living and thriving in sub-tropical regions, die-hard horticulturists can successfully grow the Moonflower plants as an annual in colder zones.
The climbing moonflower vines may show off either deep purple or bright white blooms and complimentary heart-shaped leaves further accentuate the natural beauty of this plant.
Homeowners looking for plants that lend aesthetic appeal, as well as a truly unforgettable scent, can turn to the Moonflower for help.
The elegant fragrance adds to the pleasant experience as you sip wine with friends, go out for a breath of fresh air or stroll outside in the late evenings.
Those whose garden is their haven for rest will appreciate the stark white flowers on dark nights.
Epiphyllum orchid cactus, also known as Queen of the Night or Moonflower cactus makes one unique flowering plant due to the fact that it is a night-blooming plant.
You will never experience the beauty and fragrance of the Queen of the Night’s flowers unless you stay up late at night and waited for it to come.
Other varieties of the moon vine plant include tropical white ipomoea
- Giant White
- Evening Glory
How To Grow Moon Flowers
What is a moonflower?
As a vine, the Moonflower plants can climb to an approximate height of 16′ feet. The vines produce the beautiful flowers come late summer.
Moonflower plants don’t require much space in the garden, as the Moonflower plant grows upwards searching for full sun!
You’ll love the unique heart-shaped leaf as much as the pure white blooms itself as it shoots towards the moon!
They love to grow on anything and everything they can get their “hands” on!
A trellis serves as the perfect support for them. If you find the growth a bit too overwhelming, pinch the Moonflowers at the top.
The Moonflower plant does best growing in direct sunlight, during warmer months but will grow in partial as well.
If possible, position the moon vine near sunny patios and avoid garages or the side of a house, which could block the sun’s rays for much of the day.
Plant in well-drained soil that doesn’t contain too much clay. Keep soil appropriately moist but not too soggy.
For added encouragement, add a fresh layer of compost and water deeply once or twice a week, more if you’re experiencing a dry spell.
It’s better to under-water rather than overwater, as it can affect the flower’s quality as they grow. The addition of fertilizer isn’t needed if the soil is fertile.
These plants can survive a light frost spell, but cannot bear severe to heavy frost.
In colder zones, plant the moonflower vine in a large container to move indoors when the winter season arrives. Prune vines back and keep in a warm, sunny location.
Easy care moonflower plants grow with little to no interference as long as you remember to water it and give it plenty of full sun. The moon vine needs three basic items to bring out the exquisite blooms:
- The soil – fertile, well-draining soil with lots of compost
- The sun – lots of it, full sun if possible
- Proper watering – Thorough deep watering weekly
Some enthusiasts recommend keeping Moonflowers in a small pot to force them into flowering earlier. Other gardeners make use of peat pellets to hold them together. It’s all a matter of personal preference. The Moon Flower will thrive in large containers but does equally well planted in the ground.
Different Care For Different Regions
- In southern zones keep the roots mulched
- In northern zones dig vines up for storage or plant in containers to move inside for winter
- The amount of sunlight is flexible, but remember the more sunlight plants receive the better quality of plant and more fragrant trumpet flower blooms.
- Water new plants regularly, increasing as they mature.
- For the best results, add in half-strength fertilizer rich in phosphorus like bone meal to encourage flower production and more blooms.
- Keep an eye on fertilizers rich in nitrogen, it could encourage more foliage than flower.
- The Moonflower plant resists most plant diseases and insects. If at any time infestations occur, treat the pests immediately with a fungicide, organic neem oil spray and/or chemical insect pests control.
Moonflower Plant Propagation
How to plant moonflower seeds?
Plant Moonflower seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the frost arrives. Soak the moonflower seeds overnight in warm water or carefully nick the hard shell before planting moonflower seeds in the soil to allow for easy emergence.
If you wish to skip the transplanting, plant the moonflower seeds outside directly after the last winter frost passes.
Keep the temperature in the 65° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit, range and expect germination anywhere from 4 to 7 days. Place the moonflower seedlings 6″ – inch apart in the soil to allow for good airflow, and water the soil thoroughly once.
Apart from growing the moonflowers from its seeds, you may try going for planting select cuttings. Summer gives a high success rate to gardeners who use this method.
The Moonflower vine makes a great addition to an outdoor space wheel flowers and fragrances can be enjoyed once the sun goes down.
NOTE: Moonflower the common name is sometimes associated with Datura inoxia.
The government also warns everyone to take caution when growing moonflower plants or any members of the morning glory family in your flower garden due to the potential toxicity of its many varieties.