Save Money in this Sunday's paper


A perfect pair: morning glory, moon vine

Nancy Brachey
Nancy Brachey writes about gardening for The Charlotte Observer's weekly Home & Garden section.

More Information

  • Ask Nancy

    Q. The leaves on my hosta plants have small holes in them. What could be causing this? Is there anything I can spray on them to keep this from happening?

    I am surprised that my inbox is not stuffed with complaints about this problem. A wet spring has brought out the slugs, and they are headed straight toward the soft, tender, succulent and delicious new foliage of hostas (not to mention lettuce). Be grateful you only have small holes. That’s because the slugs are still small. But they are growing and soon the holes will be much bigger and you will weep for your hostas.

    Action is required now. My favorite is the old standby of placing a shallow saucer of beer where the slugs seem to show up. The yeast scent in the beer attracts them and they soon drown in the brew.

    There are, of course, things you can buy: slug traps, slug jails, slug poison. Follow the directions. I actually prefer the traps or jails because the slugs disappear inside and you don’t have to see their wretched carcasses.

    Whatever you choose, get going now.

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.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more

Quick Job Search
Salary Databases