I’d like to introduce you to a beautiful luschious vine called Ipomoea Alba (or Moonflower / Moon Vine – there are a few names I think). This is a tropical vine that grows quite fast, and when it flowers…. wow, it’s amazing! I did, however, learn a few things about Moonflowers which didn’t seem to be documented in my google searches.
At the beginning of last Spring (September 2012), I sowed some Moonflower Seeds (care of http://www.kingsseeds.co.nz) and they popped up their little heads right on cue. Once they were big enough I planted them with plenty of compost against our back fence which I trellised before-hand. It really needed lots of training as it wanted to grow straight up, and it was easily trained.
It grew like mental and only just recently did it reward us with flowers. This is like 5 months later! Our Moonflower Vine had some surprises for us. I was the only one home when our first flower bloomed. I’d read that the flowers open in the late afternoon within a matter of minutes and bloom all night. So as soon as I saw one of the flower buds starting to open, I sat in front of it to watch it do its magic!
This is what the flower bud looks like. They stay like this for a few days before they’re ready to show themselves. When they’re at the stage (below photo), you know you’re in for a display that evening.
It was fascinating to see the huge white flower unfold before my eyes.
What I didn’t realise is how tissue-thin these flowers are. I assumed they’d have a strong, exotic scent, but they were very subtle.
The next day the Moonflower had yet another surprise for us. I assumed in the early morning as soon as the sun caressed it, the flower would do the reverse of what it did that night. But oh no… it did not. It just shriveled up and fell off! Classic!
I’m not sure if our Moonflower is behaving normally, because I’ve never seen these before, and I’m pretty sure they’re grown in tropical climates, not sub-tropical where we hale from. If you have any tips for me, post a comment below. I’d also love to hear from other people who have one of these vines.
Lastly, this vine is only a “hardy annual” whatever that means (can you tell I’m a green greenthumb?) so I’m expecting it might just curl up and die over winter. I will wait and see.