Some people love them and others
deplore morning glory flowers. But are there any benefits of morning glory
vines in the garden? What about morning glory control? These are both valid
questions and we will explore the answers here so you can decide if morning
glory pros outweigh the cons of growing these plants in your garden.
Reasons to Grow Morning Glories
(Mary Ellen’s viewpoint) I have a great memory
from childhood – checking on the morning glories that grew up the trellis in
our backyard. I loved to see when they closed and that they opened again the
next morning. These beautiful, vining flowers have a great sense of whimsy and
magic about them and make a great addition to any garden, for both kids and adults.
Planting morning glory flowers isn’t difficult and there are
many other good reasons to grow
morning glories in your flower garden. Here are some of the most important
morning glory pros to inspire you to add this pretty flower to your garden:
Easy-to-grow vine. If you like vining plants, this is
an easy one to grow. Morning glory thrives in a lot of conditions and grows
quickly and readily. It will easily spread up any vertical surface you provide,
requiring perhaps just a little guidance from you.
Gorgeous flowers that open at dawn. What could be more
magical than watching pretty flowers open in the morning and shut down in the
afternoon? The flowers are stunning, trumpet-shaped blooms that add color and
quaintness to any kind of garden.
Unique blue flowers. There are few flowers you can
put in the garden that are truly blue. Many blue flowers are really more
lavender, but if you have ever seen a blue morning glory, it is bright,
vibrant, cornflower blue and it is striking. Try the ‘Heavenly Blue’ variety
for the best blue color.
Lower cooling costs. In the hot summer months, using
morning glory vines to cover sun-soaked walls can actually reduce heat in your
Provide a quick screen. Because morning glory vines
grow quickly, you can get a fast screen for ugly areas of your yard or for privacy.
Attract pollinators. Bees, hummingbirds, and other
pollinators are drawn to these trumpet-shaped flowers, so you will be
supporting the local ecosystem by growing morning glories.
Stay Away from Morning Glory Weeds
(Laura’s viewpoint) Are morning glory vines
noxious weeds or beautiful native plants? Some gardeners feel it’s all in the
eyes of the beholder. I disagree. As members of a community, gardeners are not
only responsible for the plants growing on their property, but also for the
plants which have escaped from their gardens. With so many other beautiful flower
varieties available, why risk it? My cons of morning glories? Here you go:
Vigorous, highly competitive plant. Of the many cons
of morning glories, the fact they’re highly competitive, vigorous growing vines
is the primary reason some gardeners feel they are weeds. It’s not uncommon for
morning glories to grow 15 feet (4.5 m.) in a season. They spread rapidly and
can quickly crowd out other garden plants. They grow in any type of soil, which
makes it more difficult to eradicate the morning glory. Control
of unwanted morning glories is best achieved by pulling young vines, but
herbicides can also be used.
Limited flowering. As their name implies, morning
glories have a limited bloom time. Shade stimulates the blossoms to shrivel, so
planting morning glories in anything less than full sun means they will only
bloom a fraction of the day. This greatly inhibits their ability to contribute
to a showy flower garden.
Confusion with bindweed. One of the most important
reasons to pull morning glories out of the garden is their similarity to bindweed.
Also called creeping jenny, bindweed has flowers and leaves which are amazingly
similar to morning glory. Seasoned gardens may be able to make the distinction,
but identifying bindweed might be difficult for the neighbors. Those admiring
morning glory in your garden may unintentionally cultivate bindweed. This
invasive weed is not only tough to eradicate, it’s also toxic to children and
pets. The seeds pose the biggest threat.
Morning glory control is difficult. Even though
morning glories are grown as annuals outside of tropical climates, one would
hardly know it based on their ability to self-seed. Plant these vines one
season and year after year gardeners find more morning glory. Control of this
aggressive weed-like plant can only be achieved by deadheading the flowers
before they produce seeds. If the gardener misses one year’s batch of seeds due
to an illness, injury or family problem, it’s all too easy for this very
competitive vine to escape unnoticed.
Another of the reasons to pull morning glories when they
first appear is their resistance to herbicides as they mature. Both systemic
and broadleaf herbicides are most effective when used on young morning glory
vines. At this stage, gardeners may find it easier to remove the twining vines
by hand as there’s less risk of overspray reaching other desirable plants. Once
the plants mature, they can be difficult to remove.
Planting Morning Glory Flowers
Laura goes on to say that “the difficulty in controlling the
unintentional spread of these vines is the primary reason I don’t grow morning
glory. Weeds and weeding are my least favorite aspects of gardening. I don’t
want to plant annuals which vigorously return every year, especially since it
can take years to eradicate unwanted morning glories from the garden. I feel
there are so many more flowers with positive attributes I can choose for my
On the other hand, Mary Ellen feels there are many benefits
of morning glory vines, not least of which is the sense of magic they bring to
a flower garden. “Perfect for a trellis, fence, back deck or patio, or even to
beautify a mailbox, these lovely vines will grow nearly anywhere and add a
touch of color and whimsy.”
With such strong feelings for and against the planting of
morning glories, it can only be left up to the individual gardener to decide whether
or not these flowers are worth it in the end. Our recommendation is to
thoroughly research the morning glory plants beforehand to ensure what you are
actually planting is, indeed, an annual morning glory species and that you’re
willing to put in the extra maintenance that may be required in keeping it manageable.