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.
Pam's English Garden
Dear Dee, I enjoyed this post immensely! Morning glory has never taken over, nor reseeded in my Northeast garden. I just wish it would bloom for more hours in the day — by 10 am it’s sleeping. P. x
‘Grandpa Ott’ and ‘Sunrise Serenade’ are almost enough to make me reconsider planting morning glories. Almost.
I love the arbor and would love to walk under it. Grandpa Ott’s has always been I my short list to grow.
Aw, beauteous, dear Dee. After your heartfelt ‘hot’ summer, it’s a joy to see your lovely images.
Thank you Joey. You bring a smile to my heart.
I had to laugh out loud at this post. I love morning glories and they’ve always been incredibly easy to grow. This year, however, they have completely taken over the areas they were planted. With the drought they’ve failed to bloom which was disappointing. Still, they’ve continued to vine and have silently crept into my garage, climbed the walls of my house and taken my sidewalk hostage, all while I wasn’t looking. And now I’m off to read your “Ten easiest flowers to grow in Oklahoma”. Thanks so much for sharing.
I, too, love morning glories and have a beautiful ‘Granpa Otts’ scrambling up my daughter’s play structure. But yes, they’ll re-seed for the rest of your life! My mother planted one 12 years ago in a very unfortunate place, and even though we ripped it out after 1 year, it STILL sends up seedlings throughout the year. 12 years later!! I suspect it’ll do so long after I’m gone, someday taking over the world (which is clearly its intention)
So beautiful! Don’t I recall your climbing Zephrine on the arbor? Maybe I will attempt the morning glories– heaven knows vines grow here!
Love you, honey bunny,
Hi Curtiss Ann, yes, once the mighty ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ reigned upon that arbor. One plant is still there, but the other succumbed to Rose Rosette Disease a year ago. Sad isn’t it? Loved hearing from you my dear friend.
I grew up on a farm where I was taught that morning glories were weeds, so I’ve never grown any. But seeing them in other people’s gardens makes me think about abandoning those childhood lessons. Cousin Itt looks so lush and lovely to me, even more so in the middle of a drought. My best friend planted ‘Heavenly Blue’ a few years ago, and it nearly took over her garden:)
Rose, they kind of are weeds especially the one some of them revert back to. I do enjoy them though. After a summer like this, only weeds will grow.
i SO like your jungle better than Guns N’ Roses . . . which kinda scared me. ~
Guns N’ Roses kinds scares me too. Ha!
I have had a time with the weedy vines this year. It seems like overnight they take over shrubs, trees and any living thing standing in place for longer than 60 seconds!
Jim, yes, they are about the only things which would grow here in the summer of hell.
Patsy Bell Hobson
I hate bindweed, but I love morning glories too. I would probably hate them if it were so successful that it took over. My trellis of Morning Glories blew over in a thunder storm. It is too heavy for me to lift up. So, it looks like I have a bed of Morning Glories.
I hate bindweed too, but I do love my morning glories.
Oh honey, I didn’t think it would happen, but we disagree. You KNOW I LOVE ‘Heavenly Blue’ that azure and the sun through the petals, well, it breaks my heart over and over. I am stricken because the gale force winds last week splattered the morning glories with sea water and wiped them out. This is my first September without ‘Heavenly Blue’ by my side.
Sharon, I bet ‘Heavenly Blue’ looks great in your Maine and California gardens. Here, the sunlight washes it to an unappetizing gray/blue. I love the pictures of them. I’m just glad that hurricane didn’t wipe you out. xoxo.
I planted Heavenly Blue at my garden for the first time this year. Though it has bloomed here and there since I put it in, I’d say it has been stingy with the flowers. I was inspired to grow it by a planting at work. One of my co-workers put it at the base of a rusty barbed wire fence. Seeing that beautiful form and color against the forbiding fence was all it took for me to put it on the must have list.
Les, ‘Heavenly Blue’ also seems a bit stingy to me, but I can just imagine it next to a rusty fence. Yum . . . no wonder you had to have it.
I’m sorry, I despise morning glory’s. But I do like Mornin’ Glory! ha. Actually I like the blooms but hate the noxious effects of the volunteer seeds. When I lived in Enid they lived along the chain link fence. Have you ever tried to remove them from a chain link fence? Impossible, so you end up letting them take over your world. and your world. and your world. Pretty soon their coming up in you chester drawers.
Hey Greggo, it’s okay you despise them. It’s great we all love different things. Remember, I put in a warning about those seedlings. They can take over a garden as they have mine.
Toni - Signature Gardens
I grew this one season on the fence between my neighbor and me. I had to let it go because it started to take over. If I were the only one having to keep it in bounds, that would be one thing, but adding a burden to my neighbor just didn’t seem right. You never know when you’re going to need those neighbors; didn’t want to find them buried under Grandpa Ott’s! Blooms are very pretty, though. This year and last I grew Malabar Spinach — much more mannerly behaved — and edible 🙂 It came back from the root and I had a few seedlings, too.
Toni, I can certainly understand why you took it down. You’re a good neighbor.
Lisa at Greenbow
Precisely why I don’t grow them. I grew a beautiful pink and white morning glory several years ago. When it seeded it came back as the blue one. It is horrible. I pull and pull all season. I wouldn’t ever try it again. They are pretty but really too much trouble in my book.
Lisa, I have the horrible blue one, and I work all season to get it out of my garden. This year, it got ahead of me in the heat.
Grandpa Otts is my fave for sure!! I plan to seed it next spring next to a new fence that we put up this past weekend! I think they are so old-fashioned. .love ’em!!
It is so pretty isn’t it Melanie? I saw your fence. It was superb.
I like morning glory. My former neighbor planted it on the fence between our two gardens. It bloomed beautifully all summer but never took over or reseeded in my yard. Too hot and dry for it in Austin for its aggressive tendencies maybe? Or maybe we just got lucky.
Pam, I’m guessing too hot and dry. We had a couple of wet summers, and mine is everywhere. I still love it though. Nice to see you again in Seattle. Hope the fires are now calming down in Austin. Scary stuff.
Dee, I love Cousin Itt~I have the perfect spot for Ipomoea x imperialis ‘Sunrise Serenade’ to ramble. Thank you for introducing me to a new pretty. xogail
The double ‘Sunrise Serenade’ doesn’t seem as aggressive as the others. She is on the right side of the arbor. Since this is her first season in my garden, I don’t know if she will reseed or not. I’ll let you know next spring.