moonflower plant
Mon, Feb 21, 2022

How to Grow a Moonflower Plant: Caring for a Gorgeous Night Blooming Flower

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How to Grow a Moonflower Plant: Caring for a Gorgeous Night Blooming Flower Article Preview
moonflower plant

The moonflower plant (Ipomoea alba) is a delicate perennial vine that may enhance the beauty and scent of a night garden. Recently, it has been especially popular among gardeners looking for unusual options for the site.

Moonflower, devil’s trumpet, jimsonweed, and thorn apple are just a few popular names for this annual that self-seeds. In subtropical areas, moonflowers can be grown as perennials, while gardeners who live where the winters are cold treat them as annuals. Many types of moonflower only bloom at night, as their name suggests. As the evening progresses, long, white petals slowly unroll, finally emerging into trumpet-shaped flowers. When daylight comes, the petals fold up and revert to their closed state. While the moonflower’s midnight blossoms are undeniably beautiful, the plant’s gray-green tropical-looking leaves are also appealing. However, be aware that when the leaves are crushed, they emit a strong stench.

Moonflower is a native of North America, having been established around Jamestown, Virginia. This plant has a weedy reputation and may, in certain situations, become invasive. A prickly pod emerges as the life of the lovely white blossoms draws to a close. The thorns are mild at first, but as they grow older and develop, they become rigid and pointy. When the pods are ready, they will break open and release hundreds of seeds for the following year’s growth.

When Does Moonflower Bloom

moonflower meaning

Moonflower’s trumpet-shaped flowers bloom from mid-summer to early autumn. They are iridescent white and grow to be around 6 inches long and 3 to 6 inches broad. On overcast days, as well as the sun sets, the blossoms unfurl from cone-shaped buds. What does moonflower smell like? The delicate aroma of these flowers resembles almonds, but the smell is not too strong and can be felt only by smelling the flower.

Why Do Moonflowers Bloom at Night

moonflower growing

The moonflower gets its name from the fact that it only blooms at night, starting in the late afternoon and ending in the morning. It produces only white blossoms and is only visible to those who walk outside in the nighttime hours. According to the Texas Cooperative Extension Agency, the flower is pollinated by night-flying moths and blooms in the dark – while producing a particular aroma – to attract those insects.

Because the vines may reach 10′ to 20′ in length, moonflowers can be difficult to cultivate in pots unless they are quite huge. Moonflowers are harmful in all parts, including the seeds, therefore keeping children and dogs away from them. Various Ipomoea species are designated noxious weeds in some states and may be outlawed.

Moonflower Meaning

A moonflower is a night flower that grows and blooms in the dark. When we are faced with trying and difficult times in our life, it is such a fantastic symbol for our soul’s and personality’s growth potential.

Moonflower Vine vs Plant

moonflower symbolism

Because of their popular names and similar appearances, Datura and Moonflower vine are sometimes mistaken. Both produce trumpet-shaped blooms, but Datura grows closer to the ground, whereas a moonflower is a climbing vine. Here are some more distinctions:

  • White to lavender flowers can be seen on any plant.
  • Datura flowers bloom at any time of day, but ipomoea flowers open at dusk and bloom throughout the night.
  • Moonflower vine contains sweet-scented blossoms, whilst Datura has an awful odor.
  • Moonflower leaves are heart-shaped, whereas Datura leaves are arrow-shaped.
  • Moonflower blooms have a deeper trumpet than Datura blossoms.
  • Datura seeds are coated in thorny burrs.

Moonflower Care

moonflower leaves
how to grow moonflowers

Do Moonflowers Need Full Sun

Moonflower thrives in full sun, which usually means at least six hours of direct sunshine every day. Will a moonflower grow in shade? Well, the plant easily adapts to light shade conditions, however, it may not blossom as well.

Soil Requirements

This vine may grow in a range of soil conditions. It does, however, appreciate rich, loamy soil with good drainage and a pH of slightly acidic to neutral.

How to Water

Moonflower prefers a reasonable level of moisture in the soil. Water young plants regularly to keep the soil wet but not waterlogged. Too much moisture in the soil might cause the roots to decay. When the earth begins to dry up, water establishes plants. Drought may be tolerated for brief periods, but a prolonged dry spell might kill the vine.

Temperature and Humidity

In zones 3 to 9, these vines flourish in the summer heat and humidity, and in zones 10 to 12, they are perennial. If you reside in a colder region, wait until the temperature is consistently around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit before planting them outside. These plants, which are native to tropical areas, demand a high degree of humidity but may endure dry air if kept well-watered.


When the plant is in bloom, fertilize every three to four weeks with half-strength, high-phosphorus fertilizer. High-nitrogen fertilizer should be avoided since it encourages excessive leaf growth at the expense of blossoms.


Pull the plants from the ground when the petals have gone and the foliage begins to wither and turn brown in cold-winter zones where moonflower is grown as an annual. Leaving the vines in situ in the spring may result in a large number of volunteer seedlings. Because these plants self-seed so prolifically, it’s preferable not to compost the dead plants because many seeds will survive.

Winter is a good time to scan the ground and pull off volunteer plants in warm-weather zones where moonflowers grow as perennials to prevent uncontrolled expansion.

How to Grow Moonflowers

Planting Directly in the Ground

Wait until the temperatures are consistently warm, approximately 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, before planting moonflower seeds directly in the garden. Provide them with a sunny location in loose, well-drained soil. While moonflowers will thrive in a variety of soils, even in dry, poor soil, a tiny quantity of compost may be used. Plant them 6 inches apart and 1/4″ deep. Thin the seedlings to every 12 inches once they’ve sprouted.

Starting Seeds Indoors

Start the seeds inside in 3-inch peat pots filled with potting soil six to eight weeks before your last spring frost. It is useful if you live in a cold area and want to give your moonflowers a head start on the growing season. 1/4″ of potting soil should be used to cover the seeds loosely. To boost the humidity, place the pots on a tray in a warm spot with bright, indirect light and cover them with plastic wrap. The temperature should ideally be kept at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the tops of the soil in the pots damp but not soggy, since this can cause the seeds to rot.

When all danger of frost has gone, move the seedlings outside. Place them in a covered area for a week to allow them to adjust to the outdoors temperatures, wind, and sun. Moonflowers detest having their roots disturbed, so plant them while they’re still in the peat pots when you relocate them to their permanent position. Their roots will penetrate the containers and reach the earth. If rainfall is scarce, water the plants regularly until they are established, then add 1 inch of water once a week.

Can Moonflowers Be Grown in Pots

Moonflowers should not be grown in containers, since it is impossible to provide enough support for the long vines in a container.

Are Moonflowers Poisonous

when does moonflower bloom

Moonflowers are toxic to all animals, including horses, chickens, pigs, cows, and sheep, as well as cats and dogs. This plant should be kept away from any animals. Every portion of a moonflower is dangerous to humans, and every part of this plant is harmful to animals.

Do Moonflowers Only Bloom Once

Unfortunately, each flower of the moonflower lasts one day (night). But don’t get discouraged prematurely, the good news is that more and more of them start to open, so where you had two, you will have many more later!

Moonflower is perhaps the most beautiful plant among the night-blooming flowers. Use it to decorate paths, the local area or form a hedge. It can also be planted near gazebos to create shaded areas. Its pleasant aroma will be appreciated by all the guests and households. Try to grow it yourself, it’s really worth it!

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