The moonflower is one of the most delicate and beautiful flowers you could grow in your garden. Although it’s a subtropical perennial, you can also grow it in colder climates as an annual. It provides any garden with gorgeous white or purple climbing blooms and an intoxicating fragrance that it releases in the evening. So if you’re used to throwing garden parties in the evening, or spending long evenings reading and relaxing in the garden, you should consider growing moonflower vines. Today, we’re going to provide you with the full guide on how to grow and care for the moonflower plant.
Moonflower Vines: Growing Guide
The reason why moonflowers are so popular is because their delicate flowers and heart-shaped dark-green leaves provide a lovely contrast. This is especially true when the blooms are white. A second reason, perhaps equally as important as the first one, is the fact that they can climb on almost anything, so they make for great decorative plants. Finally, it’s interesting to note that their blooms only open after sunset, when they also release an attractive fragrance.
Decide How You Want to Plant It
As in the case of most flowers, there’s more than one way of planting a moonflower. You can sow moonflower seeds or select cuttings. If you want to plant it from seeds, allow us to recommend the Renee’s Moonflower Vine Seeds. The best time to plant the seeds is in the spring. You can also collect cuttings from the moonflower plant in the summer, and use them to propagate this flower.
Choose the Perfect Place to Plant It
The great thing about moonflower vines is that you can grow them both in the garden and in containers that you can move from the garden to your home when you feel like changing the landscape. Just remember that these plants can grow quite big. This means that if you’re going to plant them in containers, you should choose large ones. If you want to plant them in garden beds, keep in mind the fact that they enjoy sun and climbing. So you should either place them near a wall that they can climb on, or build a trellis for them.
When it comes to positioning them next to walls, make sure the wall doesn’t cause the plant to be in full shade. Some shade is acceptable, but for the most part, this plant has to be exposed to the sun. Some people believe that growing them in containers and forcing the roots to grow in a crowded space encourages the plant to bloom earlier. This is something worth keeping in mind.
If you’re worried about the amount of space you need in order to grow such plants, you should put your worries aside. Even people with little garden space can grow them. That’s because they focus all their growth on getting taller, not larger in diameter. Some moonflowers can grow up to 20 feet. They don’t have a problem with latching onto the first thing they stumble upon. If 20 feet is too much for you, you can always pinch the top of the vines. This will cause the moonflowers to stop growing upwards and focus their energy on flowering downwards.
Prepare the Soil
No matter whether you want to plant moonflower vines in garden beds or in containers, you have to pay attention to the quality of the soil. These plants thrive in moderately rich soil. This means you’re probably going to have to add some sort of organic matter to it in order to make it more suitable for this purpose. The soil should also drain well, but at the same time be capable of preserving moisture. These vines don’t enjoy dry soil, but they can’t stand soggy soil either. This is why you have to preserve a proper balance.
Plant the Seeds
When it comes to planting moonflower seeds, you have two main options. You can either plant them indoors about 6 weeks before the first frost, and then transplant them once the last frost passes, or you can plant them directly outdoors if you want to skip the transplanting step. Planting them outdoors should also happen after the last frost. There isn’t much else you have to know about planting the seeds. As long as you place them about 6 inches apart to avoid overcrowding and to provide them with good air circulation, you’ll do a great job.
The first step after planting the moonflower vines is to cover the soil with mulch. Mulch brings many benefits to your plants. The most noteworthy ones are the fact that it prevents weeds from damaging the vines, and that they preserve soil moisture for a longer period of time.
Water the Plant
Watering is an extremely important step when taking care of any plant. This plant in particular is quite demanding when it comes to watering. It needs plenty of water before it gets established in the soil, as well as when the weather is extremely hot. Given the fact that it also grows mostly in spring and summer, it makes sense that you should water it as much as possible during these months. Any plant needs constant hydration when it’s developing, especially if the weather can cause it to wilt.
In months when the weather is warmer you need to water the moonflower constantly. In autumn and winter months, you should cut back on the watering. That’s because then, the plant gets most of the moisture it needs from the environment.
Don’t Forget About Support
As we’ve already mentioned, the moonflower is a climbing plant. This means you’re going to have to provide it with support in order to develop. Support can come from a nearby wall, but most people use trellises for this purpose. Sure, if you have the possibility, you can also plant the vines next to a railing. This way, the plants will climb on the railing and decorate it in the process as well. No matter what type of support you decide to go with, remember that you have to think about it before actually planting the vines. Instead of adding the support later on, make sure you plant the vines in a place where they already have something to climb on.
Prune the Plant
The moonflower vines don’t require a lot of pruning, but some trimming is still advised. The best time to prune them is in early spring. All you have to do is look for dead wood. Then, thin the plant in order to remove everything that doesn’t benefit it any longer. This ensures that in the summer, the plant will grow stronger and healthier than ever.
Fertilize the Moonflower
Fertilization is also extremely important for people who want their moonflower vines to look their best. You should fertilize the plants regularly, making sure you use a high phosphorous fertilizer. We recommend the NPK Industries Raw Phosphorus Fertilizer that you can purchase here. This fertilizer will encourage more flowers to develop. Also, remember to stay away from nitrogen fertilizer. If you use too much of it, you won’t get as many blooms. Even more so, the plant will focus most of its energy on growing foliage. Unfortunately, this doesn’t create as big of an attraction as flowers.
Protect the Plant from the Cold
As we’ve mentioned above, the moonflower isn’t a plant that usually grows in cold climates. Even so, people who live in areas with colder weather have the possibility of growing this type of vine, as long as they provide it with some extra care. First of all, you have to consider the possibility of frosts. Second of all, you have to be able to move the plant’s location if needed.
If you only get light frosts where you live, you might be able to get away with leaving the moonflower as it is and not have it get damaged by the cold. However, if heavy frosts are a usual occurrence, you have to come up with a solution. That’s because the vines won’t live through severe frosts. The best solution you’ve got is to plant them in containers, so that you can move the containers indoors when the weather gets extremely cold and there’s a possibility of frost.
Remember Pest Control
Luckily, when it comes to pests, there isn’t much you should worry about. Moonflowers are resistant to most insects and diseases. If you notice any sings of infestation, there are several things you can do. You can use fungicide, a chemical insect control solution, or an organic solution, in case you don’t want to spray your plants with any chemicals.
Summing Everything Up
Moonflowers are the perfect plants for night owls and for people who like to spend evenings and nights in the garden. This is why you should plant them in a place where you can admire their nocturnal beauty. As long as you keep in mind the tips and tricks on growing moonflower vines that we’ve provided you with above, your garden will be the center of attention even at night.