Quick-growing morning glory vines cover trellises, fences and support structures within a short time in early summer. The annual vines continue to grow and flower throughout the warm months. Morning glories require very little maintenance to grow and perform well, but proper watering ensures they grow as tall as possible and bloom well during even the driest days of the growing season.
Direct Sown Seeds
Morning glories typically grow from seeds sown directly in the garden bed. The seeds require overnight soaking in warm water prior to planting to soften their hard outer coating and to ensure successful germination. Frequent, light irrigation in the days leading up to sprouting keeps the soil moist so the coating continues to soften. If the ground is allowed to dry, the seeds do not germinate successfully. Misting the surface of the bed with water when the surface of the soil feels dry ensures moisture stays in the top inch of soil where the seed is. Morning glories may require daily watering at this time if the bed dries out quickly.
Peat pots provide the optimum container for indoor seedlings because the pots decompose in the soil, allowing you to plant the entire pot in the garden bed and minimize root disturbance. Peat wicks moisture out of the soil, causing it to dry more quickly. Water the pots every two to four days, or when the surface dries out, until you are ready to plant the morning glories outside. Overly wet surface soil may cause fungal problems but the soil must remain moist in the root zone of the seedlings.
The established vines tolerate some dryness but generally grow more quickly and flower better when the planting bed remains evenly moist at a depth of 1 inch. Morning glories need approximately an inch of water a week, from either rainfall or irrigation. Watering once weekly and providing enough water at the irrigation to moisten the top 6 inches of soil in the bed is generally sufficient. The plants may require twice weekly watering during dry periods.
Mulches help minimize moisture loss in the soil by insulating the bed from rapid evaporation. Apply a 2-inch layer of natural mulch, such as wood chips, once the vines begin to climb their trellis. A mulched bed may require less frequent irrigation, so feel the soil beneath the mulch before watering and only irrigate when the top inch begins to feel dry. Established morning glories grown in containers dry out more quickly than those grown in mulched or unmulched beds and typically require daily watering so the soil remains moist.
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How to Grow Morning Glory (Ipomoea)
With spectacular trumpet-shaped flowers up to 6 inches in diameter, morning glories (Ipomoea spp.) are most frequently grown as annuals, though they...