Gaze with me outside my kitchen window. Do you see Cousin Itt from the Addams Family instead of the iron arbor gate to my back garden? I certainly do.
The morning glories are taking over my world, and I hear the driving beat of an electric guitar whenever I venture out to weed. Guns N’ Roses got nothin’ on Ipomoea purpurpea ‘Grandpa Ott’s,’ I. tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue,’ and I. x imperialis ‘Sunrise Serenade,’ a double variety I bought from Bustani last spring.
Morning glories are a complicated group taxonomically belonging in the family of Convolvulaceae, also known as the bindweed family.
I hate bindweed, but I love morning glories. They are native to Mexico and Central America. If you decide to take the morning glory plunge, you can either start seeds indoors or out. Soak seeds in water for 24 hours or notch them for best results. Within this same family are I. quamoclit, cypress vine, I. alba, moonflower vine, and sweet potatoes, edible or decorative, each I. batatas. We Southerners do love our decorative sweet potato vines don’t we? You can’t hardly pass a container without the black or lime green vines pouring out the sides, but today, we’re talking about their also enthusiastic cousins, morning glories.
Most summers morning glories perform exceedingly well, but the drought this summer has caused them to act as though the genetics of kudzu runs within their cholorphylled veins.
Of the three glories I listed, my least favorite is ‘Heavenly Blue.’ I don’t like its thinner leaves–there are so many leaves–and its color can’t rival the deep purple of ‘Grandpa Ott’s.’ Further, it seems to have reverted back to the common morning glory and has peppered my entire garden with its seeds.
A warning to the wise: if you like these beauties, fine . . . but expect them to self sow with abandon year after year. In early spring, pluck out any small seedlings you don’t want because they will grow with a vengeance smothering their hosts. Give the seedlings to a friend, or better yet, throw them in the compost pile root side up until they die. Otherwise, they will take on those composted nutrients and cover your pile too.
Impomea spp. may look delicate and harmless, but oh, no, they are so not. I’ve warned you. Grow them, and you’ll hear Guns N’ Roses in your head too.