The Night-Blooming Moonflower

This vine sends up many twining stems that produce large, heart-shaped, deep green leaves. While its foliage is handsome, it’s the spectacular night-blooming flowers that make moonflower truly soiree-worthy.

There aren’t many plants you’d want to plan an entire party around, but moonflower is definitely one of them. Your guests will be amazed when the pointed buds suddenly unfurl after dark, expanding to form pearly white, 6-inch-wide, fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers within just a minute or two.

This tropical beauty needs a long, warm growing season and often doesn’t start flowering until late summer. Plant it with day-blooming morning glories for 24/7 beauty.

Common name: Moonflower, moon vine

Botanical name: Ipomoea alba

Plant type: Vine

Zones: Perennial in Zone 10 and higher, but grown as an annual in colder zones

Height: 8 to 15 feet

Family: Convolvulaceae


Growing conditions

  • Sun: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: Loamy garden soil
  • Moisture: Evenly moist

Care

  • Mulch: Apply 1 or 2 inches of organic mulch.
  • Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers to prevent seed production, if desired.
  • Fertilizer: Topdress with compost or apply diluted soluble fertilizer occasionally, if needed.

Propagation

  • Seeds


Pests and diseases

  • No serious problems

Garden notes

  • Moonflower is a twining vine, so you’ll need to supply support, such as a trellis or mesh fencing.
  • Its mass of foliage makes it a good choice for a privacy screening or covering unsightly chain-link fences.
  • Combine moonflower with other plants that have fragrant evening flowers, including flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) and stock (Matthiola incana).

All in the family

  • Moonflower is a member of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), a widely distributed group composed primarily of vining plants.
  • Other popular ornamental vines in the genus Ipomoea include cypress vine (I. quamoclit), cardinal climber (I. x multifida), firecracker vine (I. lobata) and morning glory (I. tricolor, I. purpurea, I. nil).
  • Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are also in the same genus and are grown for either their tasty roots (including ‘Covington’, ‘Beauregard’ and ‘Georgia Jet’) or ornamental foliage (‘Margarita’, ‘Blackie’ and ‘Tricolor’).

Where to buy