Thursday, June 08, 2006


The moonflower (Ipomoea alba) is an annual vine closely related to the morning glory. The flowers open in the late afternoon and remain until early morning, sweetening the evening air with fragrance. They are pollinated by moths, but I've found the blossoms covered by dozens of bees on late summer evenings, buzzing from one flower to the next. The flowers are trumpet-shaped and the leaves like hearts.

Moonflowers like full sun and rich, moist, well-drained soil. Plant them in a spot where you can observe their silvery beauty by moonlight or near a window to enjoy the scent indoors. We grow ours in pots and along the fence surrounding the pond, where the vines twine in between the pickets and the blossoms unfurl just as the sun begins its descent.

Moonflowers are easily confused with Brugmansias and Daturas. Some of the seedlings we bought this spring were mislabeled as Angel's Trumpet's (Brugmansia), but once these started growing, it was clear they were Moonflowers and not Angel's Trumpets. The others haven't begun to bloom yet, but I'm wondering if they're not Daturas, again mislabeled. Moonflowers can be planted with other evening-blooming flowers to extend your enjoyment of the garden into the twilight hours.


Susan Gets Native said... can use steeped Datura leaves as an aphrodisiac.
Just some trivia....

LauraHinNJ said...

It was the "Lady-of-the-night" title that made you think of that, right? Right?

I think Datura is the same plant as Jimson weed that kids in the southwest (?) use to get high - dangerous stuff - not sure that I'd be willing to drink it.

Susan Gets Native said...

I've tried it...and it's disgusting. But we won't go into whether it actually works or not...

Endment said...

What a beautiful blossom!!!
I keep trying to grow them but I think too much rain must put an end to them... The plants have simply shriveled and collapsed.
Yours are wonderful!

Pam in Tucson said...

Wonderful post! I don't know this beautiful flower. I've got Datura volunteering in my side yard after the monsoon rains. Not something I'm going to try ingesting, but definitely something I'm going to try cultivating.