Do you have a fence, trellis or porch that you would like to hide or maybe enhance with something green and flowering? Or maybe you have a part of your yard that you want to hide. Consider growing morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor). These fast growing vines can reach 5 to 25 feet in length, depending on the variety chosen. The bell or trumpet-shaped flowers come in an array of colors like red, pink, purple, blue and white. Some flowers are bi-colored. The flowers open at dawn and close by the afternoon.
Morning glories are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 and warmer. In those zones, people grow morning glories as perennials. For everyone else living in a colder zone, this vining plant is grown as an annual. If you want to draw hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden, be sure to include morning glories. The only bad aspect of this plant is that the flowers last one day, but once they start blooming, they bloom every day. The blooming period starts in the early summer and they will continue until the frost takes them out.
Once you start growing the morning glory vines, you may never have to replant them again because they will re-seed themselves back each year. To get started growing your own, you’ll need some seed. If you or a friend have this vine growing, you can gather the seed heads. Remove the seeds and store them in a vial or envelope to sow in the spring. By removing the seeds to plant again next year, you will save money and have more than enough seeds to share your with family or friends.
Mark Flower Colors
It is a good idea to mark the morning glory vines if you want to keep the colors separated. This can be done is several different ways. You can tie a piece of yarn that is the same color as the flower onto the stems, or some people use those plastic closures that are used to tie the produce bag shut. There is usually enough room for you to write the flower color on one or both sides of the plastic closure. Remember to use a water-proof marker, or the rain may wash your words away.
Harvest Seed Pods
When the flowers begin to fade, seed pods will form. The seed pods will start out green, but this is not the time to harvest them because the seeds are still developing inside. Leave the seed heads on the vine until they turn brown and are dry.
Every time you go out into the garden, take along a bag or other container to toss your seeds into. If you want to keep the flower colors separate, take along several plastic bags. Write the flower colors on each bag with a permanent marker. This will help you to keep your seeds organized while you harvest them. Place the bags in a ice-cream pail or box for easier carrying.
Harvest the seedpods by picking them off with your fingers, or you can use a pair of scissors. Place each color in the right bags to keep the colors separate.
Removing the Seeds From The Pod
Hold the seedpod over a bowl while you pinch the seedpod between your fingers. The pods will open and the seeds will spill into the container. Separate the seeds from any foreign matter.
Pour the seeds into an envelope, vial or small baggie. Label each one with the color of your morning glory seeds. Close the container tightly to keep the seed from safe inside. Store the seed in a cool dry place.
Gardenspace: Information on the Flower Morning Glory
Winter Sown: Seed Saving FAQs Morning Glory
Kids Gardening: Finding, Gathering, Saving Seeds