Glassonion91168
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Moonflowers

Hi all,

I've been growing moonflower from seed for the past couple of years. I then plant them under a trellis, then they take off climbing in early August.

Unfortunately, I've never been able to actually see them flower because my zone has been wreaked with horrible October storms the past couple of years (hurricane Sandy to name one), thereby killing everything off. This year they fell victim to a brief non-storm cold snap. :cry:

I'm recalling planting them in the ground in May. Should I get them in earlier? Am I just doomed in general because of my zone?

I would love any tips on moonflower growing in general, especially what time of day to go outside to watch them open (if I should ever be so lucky to get a flower).

Thanks!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Moonflowers

Something isn't happening right. I grow moonflower from seed every year. This year I had two plants. One was in a container on the deck (meaning mostly only morning sun). It got off to a slow start and then got out competed by other plants in the pot, so got stunted for a long time. It finally grew enough to get above the other plants and took off. So it was very late to bloom, probably in to September. The other one was planted in the ground in full sun and got a lot of rain early in the season. It did great and got huge and was blooming by mid July.

Your season is a little slower than mine, but it should not take until Oct for it to start blooming. Early to mid May or a couple weeks after your last frost date should be a good time to plant it and have plenty of time for it to be blooming in the summer.

What happened to it? You said it was in the ground. What is your soil like? Is it in full sun? Does it get plenty of water (but not waterlogged)? Mine that got huge, I really did nothing to after putting in the ground in pretty average soil. As noted, I didn't have to water because we had so much rain. I have harvested at least 50 seeds from it and it has hundreds more buds, blossoms, seed pods on it, but they aren't going to ripen up, because too cold now.

Incidentally, the little one in the pot, I brought in to see if I can keep it alive over the winter.
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Glassonion91168
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Re: Moonflowers

I truly know nothing about these other than I can get it to grow and climb.

The plant gets enormous and actually ends up overtaking some morning glories that I like to plant under the same trellis. I bet I planted late again. My first year had blooms, but not many and then a Halloween snowstorm screwed things up and killed it. When it does die, do you usually cut it down?

My soil is quite rocky, but I do believe it gets almost full sun.

I saw a video once of a moonflower opening up. It only took a minute or so. What time of day do the usually open? I'm all for taking a night and staring until I see one open, lol.

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applestar
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Re: Moonflowers

I haven't grown them in a while -- last time a bunny rabbit taste tested all three seedlings I planted out by biting off the stem near the ground then spitting them out and leaving them to die :evil:

Years ago, I grew them in front of our NW-facing front porch. The flowers bloomed in the evening before I came home (I always worked late) and were still open in the morning when I left for work because the NW side of the house was completely shaded from the rising sun.

I have (weed) blue morning glories that keep coming back in this same bed. They don't bloom until later in the day because of the morning shade, then get fried by the sun when it comes around the side of the house -- very short bloom timeframe and I never got to see them open when I planted the original morning glory vines there.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Moonflowers

They open around dusk and stay open until full sunlight in the AM. The video was probably speeded up time lapse, because they don't open that fast.

You planted seed in the ground in May? That should have been good enough and you likely couldn't plant the seed much earlier to have the soil warm. But I start mine indoors a few weeks ahead of time, give them a little head start. But really I think they should bloom quicker than you are saying and yours wasn't getting enough of something it needed, sun, water, nutrients (rocky soil might be kind of infertile). They should bloom about three months after the seeds sprout. So even if you didn't have sprouted seeds until the first of June, you should have been seeing blooms by beginning of Sept.
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Glassonion91168
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Re: Moonflowers

rainbowgardener wrote:They open around dusk and stay open until full sunlight in the AM. The video was probably speeded up time lapse, because they don't open that fast.

You planted seed in the ground in May? That should have been good enough and you likely couldn't plant the seed much earlier to have the soil warm. But I start mine indoors a few weeks ahead of time, give them a little head start. But really I think they should bloom quicker than you are saying and yours wasn't getting enough of something it needed, sun, water, nutrients (rocky soil might be kind of infertile). They should bloom about three months after the seeds sprout. So even if you didn't have sprouted seeds until the first of June, you should have been seeing blooms by beginning of Sept.
I start mine indoors too. I have a feeling the rocky soil isn't helpful. Any tips on how to make it more fertile? It was definitely getting enough sun and water daily.

Speaking of starting them indoors, what do you use to keep them from tangling on one another? They're really hard to twist apart sometimes. Thanks!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Moonflowers

Dig a big hole and fill it in with rich soil and compost and plant in to that.

I don't have any answers about the tangling, I just patiently and gently untangle them when ready to take them out from under the lights.
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evtubbergh
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Re: Moonflowers

It's illegal to plant moonflowers here because they are so invasive!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Moonflowers

Interesting! Climate difference. Moonflower is a very close relative of morning glory and in the same family with bindweed, so it makes sense, since morning glory is invasive and bindweed is super invasive. But I have never had moonflower volunteer, even though I have planted it for years. Unlike morning glory, its seeds don't seem to survive our winters.
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Glassonion91168
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Re: Moonflowers

I wonder if bind weed was what was trying to kill my mountain laurel! I dug up a 6 foot root (checked against my hubby's height, lol). Look!
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Moonflowers

Hard to tell without seeing the leaves, but could well have been. I have a beautyberry bush that I have to keep pulling all the bindweed out of.
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Glassonion91168
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Re: Moonflowers

It's awful, and it spreads like crazy. Really hard to pull out of the ground too.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Moonflowers

Yup, that's the one. If you try to pull the root, it breaks easily and then all the part left in the ground continues to grow and spread. Don't ever till the stuff -- you just fill your soil with a million little pieces of bindweed root, which then all grow and spread.
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Glassonion91168
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Re: Moonflowers

Blast. If I'm able to pull the roots, does that get rid of them? I couldn't believe how long that one root was. It went through my garden bed!
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