Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Well, It's A Marvelous Night For A Moonflower

Ipomoea alba

If only I could capture the intoxicating scent that drifts on the air when Moonflower opens it's perfect face~~ It's luscious.

The alabaster white flowers are a show stopper against the heart shaped green foliage. Moonflower is a tropical vine that grows and climbs vigorously once the weather heats up! But not before! Moonflower waits for those warm summer evenings to finally unfurl its glorious blooms and release its fragrance. A fragrance that exists only to attract pollinators....It's one of my favorite fragrances in a garden. A gentle sweetness that is not over powering or cloying.

It's planted near the side door where anyone entering or leaving can catch the fragrance drifting on the breeze. It's sunny there and Moonflower needs fuller sun to shine. Give it support to climb on ~~there are vine holders in the brick to give it purchase to climb up and around the downspout. Without support it would be a lovely groundcover.
Isn't the star wonderful

You and I aren't the only creatures who love fragrant, night blooming, white flowers. Moths, the pollinators of these beauties will be visiting all night. Depending upon what part of the country you live in you might look for these moths~~

Pink-spotted Hawkmoth (Agrius cingulatus), with a four inch wingspan. The caterpillars feed on jimsonweed, pawpaws, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and many morning glories. (Southwestern US)

Luna Moth (Actias luna)-One of the beautiful moths! A pale green moth which has eye spots on its 4 inch wings and a long tail. The caterpillar feeds on willows, cherries and beeches. (Eastern US and parts of TX)

Io Moth(Automeris io)-A common species they are a little smaller, only about 3 inches, with white-centered, black and blue spots on the hindwings. The caterpillars are said to eat anything within reach and have poisonous spines. (Eastern US)

Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)- A small dark orange moth. The caterpillars are called the Wooly Bears, with fuzzy red/brown and black bands. We see them each fall scurrying around looking for a winter hiding spot. They love to eat asters, clover, corn, sunflowers and maple. (Entire North American continent)

~~~
I do hope you have Moonflower vines in your garden~~ Tonight should be a marvelous night for a moonflower dance!

Gail

33 comments:

  1. Sigh, so long since I've seen a luna moth, Gail! When I was growing up in Nashville, I saw them all the time. Now I'm worried about them! Thanks for the gorgeous moonflower photos.

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  2. Love the smell of these. I've only grown it once and no luck since that year.

    For some reason it does not appear that feeds are working. Either for your blog on my blog or my blog on yours. Any issues on your end that you know of? I guess I'll go check blogger help.

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  3. Can you believe I have never done moonflowers?
    Donna

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  4. What a delightful place to have this beauty planted, Gail! Having thingeys in the brick is pretty darn smart too. Like OFB, I miss seeing the Lunas, we used to have lots of them in our NE TN house. We must lack something they like here, like 40 acres of woods behind our house! HA
    Frances

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  5. Luna is a beauty of a moth when you consider most moths are grey/brown/dirty white...

    My feed isn't working either Tina~ I didn't know you had a new post, but the non-blogger blogs are showing up fine. Let me know what you find out!

    gail

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  6. I love moonflowers! The foliage has a weird smell, but I like it.

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  7. Monica...I've got to see what you mean! I wonder if that keeps beetles and bugs from eating it? gail

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  8. I don't have moonvine in our garden this year. I have had it before. It is a gorgeous plant. I do have the datura that people call moon flower because it also blooms at night and is white. I just love em.

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  9. oh, I'm SO jealous you have this gorgeous vine flourishing in your garden Gail. I started seeds but I was late doing it and then our cool, wet summer has not been to their liking. I'll have to live vicariously thru your blossoms and try again next year. The photos are luscious.

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  10. Kathleen, I cheated and bought the vine early spring from a garden center! They take so long to sprout and with the cool rainy weather we had...it wouldn't be blooming today. gail

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  11. Oh I just love moonflowers, I haven't planted any the past two years. It's always touch and go with the seed germination for me.--Randy

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  12. Randy, That's why I cheat and purchase them already started!

    Gail

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  13. One of my favorite vines! I don't have moonflower vine this year, but I've grown it regularly in the past, always from seed. I find it very easy to save seed and grow more vines the next year too.

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  14. Now why in the world would I plant so many morning glories and not a single moonflower. Crazy! Next year, for sure. Dying to know what they smell like.

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  15. Jen, They smell a bit like Four O'clocks only gentler!

    Gail

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  16. Beautiful, Gail. I don't have them but really should find a spot. Plants with strong fragrance are favorites of mine. I have morning glory but they have no scent.

    Have a great weekend.
    Marnie

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  17. No Moonflower here, I'm afraid - but it looks lovley!
    Katarina

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  18. Lovely flower, lovely photo.

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  19. I grew Moonflower one year and sadly it had no fragrance! I will have to try it again. I love your moth descriptions.

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  20. Hey, that looks like a angel flower.
    Oh so pretty.
    Like that you know all the visitors to your flowers.
    It's only been a few weeks now that we're getting visitors...go figure.

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  21. Gail -- What beautiful Moonflowers you captured there -- I'm sure they smell heavenly, too. No Moonflowers here at Nature's Garden, but I do have Duranta running amok along the back of the cabana, and they're the next best thing.

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  22. I keep forgetting to grow those beauties. Thinking "oh we don't have a hot enough summer." But lately we do, I should remember for next year.

    The photo of the "star", it draws me in, I want to dive right in, and drift down.....down.......down.....


    Jen

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  23. simply beautifully captured shots....lovely!

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  24. Hi Gail~~ I've always been intrigued by the Moonflower. Unfortunately my attempts to get it to flower were in vain. I love the moths. They'll frequent my phlox and honeysuckle.

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  25. What glorious photos of an amazingly beautiful flower. My neighbor has one growing and gave me seeds that she harvested too early. Will try this again when we get to SC.

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  26. ps- love the song! Love Van Morrison!

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  27. Oh I like that - unfortunately it wouldn't be hot enough here for it to flower well. I'm having enough trouble getting the ordinary Ipomoeas to flower rather than sulk!

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  28. Oh, that star in the middle is from the other world!

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  29. Sounds delightful, Gail! I've admired these moonflower blossoms so much, but unfortunately haven't been able to get one to grow here yet.

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  30. I had Moon flower one yr. it was in a shady place so it didn't do very well. I need to grow it again. Maybe next yr. I've heard it said to plant it with Morning Glories to get a better appeal. Sounds nice. Blooms in the morning & blooms in the evening.

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  31. what a flower this is. i germinated it in 3 days because weather was very hot. its not 5 feet tall but no blooms yet. its fragrance is sort of lemony scent. waiting for its blooms.

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  32. Gail girl how are you !
    I have had no luck yet again with the Moonflower .. I think it is a matter of not enough sun .. I am determined to try one more year so I will plan a place that has as much sun as possible to get this beauty to shine for me !
    Joy : )

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  33. Also have Van's song in my head now, Gail - but if one must have an earworm - it's a good one. Your photo captures the gleaming texture!

    My reseeding Moon vines and Blue pea vines straggled up very late this year. I'm hand-watering and hoping both vines and gardener will make it to September GBBD.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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