One of the nicest combinations of flowers involves two relatives: the morning glory and the moon vine.
The morning glory is, of course, famed for beautiful blue blooms that appear with each new day and fade as the day passes.
The moon vine shows its flowers as the evening draws near, but they are white, round and gleaming like the moon on a good night in late summer.
Growing separately on a trellis or fence, they are nice. Grown together they are much better. That is because this combination keeps the action going day and night. And if your trellis or fence is close enough for easy viewing, that’s important.
Both plants are cousins, belonging to the same genus. Both are twining climbers that grow rapidly. They are annuals, meaning each plant has one summer season to grow, bear flowers and set seeds. Morning glories are particularly easy to grow from seeds sown now for bloom by mid-summer. Often they will drop seeds that sprout the next spring to make new plants and flowers.
The moon vine, often called moon flower, may also be grown from seeds but at this time of year it is best to look for young plants to set out where you want them to grow.
Both plants require sun and warm soil. If your morning glories seem a bit slow to grow this year, blame it on the weather that kept air and soil cool much longer than usual.
Achieving a good combination means simply alternating the two kinds of plants. It would be best to start with the moon vines because the young plants are visible, while seeds of morning glories are tiny. Aim for a distance of 8 to 10 inches between plants at ground level. And it is best to let them have their own space since tall and vigorous morning glories can swamp other plants, even large shrubs such as roses.
They will do fine on a chain-link fence, which you may wish to hide anyhow. If the fence is 4 feet or so, they should cascade gracefully over the top. But they will also do well on a trellis, and there are many to choose from. Just remember, height is important and 6 feet is probably the shortest you should get.
Both plants will produce seeds from spent flowers. You can save these seeds by capturing them in a envelope as the spent flowers mature on the vine. Keep the seeds in a dry, cool place and sow them in individual peat pots early next spring for planting outdoors as the air and soil warm.
Don’t be alarmed if the morning glory blooms show up much faster than the moon vine. I think of moon vine as a plant for late July, August and into September – just the thing to enhance a late summer party in the evening.
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