Grow Morning Glory from Seed to Create a Lush Vertical Garden

Annual morning glory is a beautiful vining flower that grows upward, wrapping around fences, poles, and canopies to create a vertical display of blossoms. The delicate petals close up tight when it is dark, but when the morning sun warms them, they unfurl their showy blooms.

purple morning glory flower

With their heart-shaped leaves and trumpet-like flowers, morning glories are perfect for covering any vertical structure in your garden. These prolific bloomers will grow 15 feet or more and stretch to grow whatever they can grab onto.

Unfortunately, these beautiful annual flowers have been confused with the noxious weed– Field Bindweed or Convolvulus arvensis.

Annual morning glory, or Ipomoea spp., is not invasive and has a different growth habit. Where bindweed spreads aggressively with rhizomes and comes back year after year, Morning Glory does not have rhizomes and is a frost-tender annual. The roots of annual morning glories are easy to pull out of the garden at the end of the season.

Both plants have similar flowers that open in the morning sun. Bindweed flowers and leaves are smaller. Morning glories grown from seeds, like the Heavenly Blue variety, have large flowers and leaves.

Morning glories will wrap around anything they can find, so choose your location carefully. Give them space from other plants and then enough vertical height to stretch up.

The shape of morning glory flowers is perfect for hummingbirds. Give your plants something tall to climb, and the birds will find them.

Morning Glory flowers have a very short expiration date. These delicate flowers unfurl in the morning sun and then wilt and expire in the afternoon heat. They are best planted in a location where you can enjoy their early morning flowering and the foliage they add to vertical structures.

Morning Glories (Ipomoea) are an easy-to-grow vining flower. Their beautiful trumpet-like flowers bloom in shades of blue, pink, and purple. Delicate blooms unfurl in the morning sun on a backdrop of heart-shaped leaves. 

Grow Morning Glory vines to cover trellises and create shade canopies.

How to Grow Morning Glory from Seed

Morning Glory is easy to grow, but there are some helpful tips to get the seeds to germinate. Morning Glory seeds have a thick outer coat that protects them. Whether you start seeds indoors or direct sow, you will need to scarify the seeds before planting. Scarification and soaking for 24 hours will significantly increase the seed germination rate.

morning glory seedling cotyledon leaves

Tips for fail-proof morning glory seed germination

  • Scarify seeds before planting. You can rub seeds between pieces of sandpaper and then soak them for 24 hours.

  • Plant seeds ½” deep.

  • Keep soil temp between 65 - 85ºF.

  • Keep the seeds moist until they sprout.

  • With scarification and warm soil, morning glory seeds should germinate in 5 to 15 days.

Morning glory seedling with true leaves in garden

Transplanting Morning Glory

Wait until all danger of frost has passed before moving morning glory seedlings outdoors. Morning glory plants have fragile roots and need tender care for successful transplanting.

When the morning glory seedlings are a few inches tall and have two true leaves, you can start preparing them. First, take time to harden them off. This will help the tender seedlings transition to life outdoors.

When transplanting, avoid disturbing the roots and keep the soil around them as you place them into their new spot.

Space seedlings at least 6 to 8 inches apart. Plant them to the depth they were already growing at, which means don’t pile up more soil around the stem.

colorful morning glory blooms climbing trellis

How to Grow Morning Glory Plants

Morning glories are tender annuals. They love the sunshine and don’t tolerate frost. Give them full sun, average soil, moderate water, and something sturdy to climb.


Full sun, at least 6 hours a day, is best. Morning sunlight will result in beautiful unfurling blooms each day. If your plants aren’t blooming, a lack of sunshine may be the culprit.


Morning glories are adaptable to all kinds of soil. They don’t need extra fertilizer or rich soil.


Keep young morning glory seedlings moist. Once they are established, water only when the soil is slightly dry. Consistent watering will result in regular growth and blooms.


Morning glory plants are perfect for creating a summer sun shade. Let the vining flowers grow up the poles and create a natural canopy. The flowers will love the sunshine while you enjoy the shady spot on a warm afternoon.

Sometimes, morning glory vines will stretch out to climb somewhere else. You can train them to grow where you want them to or cut off vines headed in the wrong direction.


Remove spent blooms to encourage more flowers.

closeup of purple and pink morning glory flowers

Solutions for Pests and Diseases

Morning glory plants aren’t bothered by many pests or diseases besides the usual suspects.

When aphids, spider mites, or caterpillars attack, fight back with natural control methods.

Morning Glory FAQs

Do morning glories like sun or shade?

Morning glories prefer full sun. As their name suggests, morning sun is best for the flowers to bloom.

Where is the best place to plant morning glories?

Plant morning glories where they will receive morning sun and at least 6 hours of direct sun. Give them well-draining soil and something sturdy to climb up.

Do morning glory seeds need scarification?

Morning glory seeds have a hard outer coating. Scarification will help break down the coating and make them germinate quicker.

Are morning glories invasive?

The name “Morning Glory” has been used to describe many flowers. But true Morning Glory Flowers are not the same as field bindweed. Cultivated morning glory flowers planted from seed do not spread by rhizomes and can easily be pulled out. They are also annuals and will die off in freezing weather.

Morning glory flowers are a delight to grow. They will transform vertical structures and provide you with beauty, shade, and food for pollinators.

Use these tips to grow morning glory from seed and enjoy this beautiful heirloom flower.

Written by Beverly Laudie

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