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Why I Adore Morning Glories

October 07, 2020

Are Morning Glories friend or foe in your garden?

Here are the pros and cons to planting them and how to keep them in line, so you can enjoy their lovely blooms.

Morning Glories Covering A Hidden Trellis

Decorating is my passion. Sitting in a well designed room, with a view I adore is my zen.

Doesn't matter if it's inside or out.

Pretty is a must.

So when we moved in here years ago and placed a patio between the kitchen and the garage, I knew something had to be done. That large, plastic, white sided wall would just not do.

In the first year or two, we planted. But nothing grew tall enough to mitigate all that blank space. Then we had a brainstorm.

We needed a climbing vine.

Without a lot of thought, we grabbed a few packets of Morning Glory seeds at the nursery and planted them beneath a plastic trellis.

Morning Glories Growing On A Garden Wall

In no time, they took off and by the end of the summer, we had a wall full of gorgeous greenery and deep purple flowers.

My view improved dramatically and from that year on, Morning Glories became a staple in our cottage style garden.

It wasn't until I posted about it that I found out what nuisance Morning Glories could be. There were all sorts of words peppered about the comments. And they were harsh.

Noxious. Invasive. Weeds. And banned from several states, counties and countries.

I was honestly shocked.

I'd grown up with Morning Glories in my yard. They covered the fence by our pool and wound around the trees bordering our woods. They never got out of hand and frankly, I thought they were sweet.

Of course, my mom's weekend mantra was always go out by the pool and maybe they just never got a chance to get out of hand.

We kept them in check. Although in our experience they've been ultra low maintenance. And they do so well on that wall. 

There are more pros for us than cons. 

For example. The seeds were super cheap. Way less expensive than just about any other climbing vine. Right there, I was sold.

They're also prolific growers. I guess that could also be a con. However, for us, the growing season is short and many vines are not perennial in my neck of the woods. 

So to wait for something to grow to cover that wall kind of defeats the purpose. 

They flower, which is a big plus and they don't drop any berries or mess. 

Last - and maybe best - we've been planting seeds for so many years, that now, they just come back on their own. And I have to say, always in the right place.

Zero money, zero planting. That's a major plus. 

So the million dollar question that we've been asked over and over how do we tame those unruly and potentially invasive vines? 

Maybe we just have gentler variety...although I doubt it. 

Perhaps these steps help...

Vine Covering In The Garden

First of all, the garden area is contained. It's a bed that was carved out when the concrete was poured and is several feet away from the next patch of dirt.

Yes, yes, the wind can blow, but honestly, other than one or two tiny vines on our own pool fence, that were easily removed, we haven't had any misbehaving sprouts.

Second, we always cover the ground in that area with a heavy layer of mulch. We mulch the rest of the surrounding beds, too.

That way, it's hard for any opportunistic seeds to find the dirt and take root in our garden. It's been almost 20 years and we haven't had any interlopers.

Well, maybe a few grass sprouts here and there, but it's grass. Not Morning Glories.

Third, we keep those vines in line with a roped trellis. Yup, we don't just let them wander about freely. We start with some kind of anchoring structure and then we run twine from it to the roof of the garage.

Anchoring A Trellis

That framework gives the Morning Glories a firm and directed structure to grow on. And they are very well behaved students.

As the summer months tick by, those tiny vines grow up and out along the twine with just a little bit of prompting. They learn quickly which way to go and by late July that wall is nowhere to be found.

It's hidden behind a lush covering of velvet flowers and emerald leaves.

It makes the late summer and early fall garden a true spectacle and softens the entire yard as the colors start to fade and the leaves behind to fall.

In years past, we've had store bought trellises. I think I shared my first trick way back in August of 2013. It was a simple peek at my flowers and how they grew up the wall.

Climbing Vine In A Cottage Garden

Then, just about a year later, I detailed our trellising technique. Again, using a that same Home Depot structure.

This summer, we found ourselves without a traditional trellis. After many years of use, it finally gave way to rot.

Instead of buying a new one, we decided to go with something a little more whimsical and use an old bench we found at the curb as our anchor.

Morning Glory Covering A Wall

It was a huge hit and while the focus was on the how-to, many people asked me to follow up to see how the vine grew over the course of the summer.

Well, I'm here to report that it's fabulous. 

Once again my entire wall has been camouflaged.

Morning Glory Hidden Trellis

That bland siding has completely disappeared, swallowed up by all the growth.

Decorated by nature.

Turning my boring patio into a well decorated room.

With a really great view.

Just the way I like it.

Morning Glory Pros and Cons

Do you decorate inside and out?

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  1. Kim,
    My aunt and uncle in Huntsville had morning glories and I loved them! I spent a month each summer in AL w them as a kid and this was one of my favorite memories. My Mom, her sisters loved climbing roses and they were magnificent. So as a Hoosier, I have roses, however if I had the perfect location as you do, I would have morning glories as well. If it brings you joy and doesn't harm anyone...ENJOY!

    1. Cyndy, climbing roses sounds amazing. I wish I had a greener thumb and could grow them myself. I think that's why I love morning glories, the might have a little bit of a wild spirit, but maybe that's why I can grow them so well. And thank you!!

  2. Kim, I think I have told you before, but morning glories are one of my most favorite flowers and have never felt that they were invasive. Yours is one of the most beautiful I have seen as far as the green of the leaves and the beautiful bright flowers. What a wonderful background for the patio. I bought one plant many years ago at the Farmer's Market. It was about 4 feet high, just one skinny little plant. I planted it at my front fence and it grew there year after year with beauty. After about 8 years it bloomed itself out and never came back again. We have planted the big one over the trellis but it doesn't come back in our climate. Last year I planted seeds (first time) and it grew over the trellis nicely, but it didn't come back this year so now I am without morning glories, so keep showing yours as it makes my summer..Stay well.xxoJudy

    1. Judy, it's nice to hear that you're a great fan, too! They are such pretty flowers and they really do make a great background for my patio. It looks lovely from the kitchen. I can't believe that wall is still blooming. Our weather has been mild here, so far, so that lovely view is still there.

  3. I see Morning Glories through blogging and have never experienced them.

    I didn't know they were very invasive. In our old house we had Black Eyed Susan's and they were invasive.

    Loved them but crazy and yet I see many people where we live now with them. They're not invasive around our neighborhood.

    Some plants work well depending how you can control them.

    These look beautiful!


    1. Thanks Cindy! Yes, I agree, I think the climate helps out a lot. They are easily controlled, especially when winter sets in!

  4. I love morning glories and yours is so beautiful, i wouldn't ever have known if i hadn't read your blog, so i didn't read this,lol!! Your morning glories are so pretty!

    1. Thanks Marlene, they really are pretty flowers and they're cheap!! I love a bargain that works out this well. Haha!!

  5. I love morning glories too. It seems that you have figured out the best way to contain them!

    1. Thanks Penny...they really do work well in my yard.

  6. I do love morning glories. We have had them for years by the gate. This year, they were growing nicely on a trellis. Then the squirrels started to eat them. What an ugly mess, just a few viones left. They are invasive, because I had them growing up our ginko tree.

    1. Oh, thank goodness our squirrels don't seem to have a taste for my morning glories! They love my coneflowers though...those pretties don't stand a chance...

  7. I think your morning glories are fabulous and soooo pretty. I never knew they could be invasive and yours seem to be under control. I like them and like the way they look. Very pretty. oxox

    1. Thank you, Kris!! They've actually been very well behaved guests here. Thank goodness!! xo

  8. Glorious! I've not gotten anything from mine this year yet! There is a wild morning glory that is invasive, it is smaller and white. You can see it alongside roads and fields. Your variety is not invasive, and you can always cut them back.

    1. Oh, I'd forgotten the white ones, Pam!! They're so pretty and dainty. We had them in the yard growing up. I haven't seen them here in years, only the purple and blues. I wonder if maybe they're bred to more well behaved!!

  9. We've had morning glories quite often and have never found them to be a nuisance. Probably we are far enough north that they never get enough chance to take over.
    Yours are just gorgeous! I love seeing that whole wall alive with color!

    1. I think you're right, Mari...our climate keeps them walking the line! And thank you my friend!

  10. Why, oh, why do some people have all the luck?!? I love morning glories and have tried several times to grow them with unimpressive results. Mine look weak and anemic. They finally get overtaken by pests or the heat and humidity. Why can't I have those invasive kinds?

    1. Haha...Briana, you're funny! I wish I could take credit for that wonderful wall of flowers, but my husband is the gardener and honestly, he just sprinkles a few seeds and lets them go...

  11. Your morning glories grew so big and look so pretty on the wall. A few of my neighbors have them growing on their lamp post. Do they live during the winter months or do you have to replant them each spring? Just wondering.

    1. Thanks Julie!! The flowered covered lamp posts sound so charming. I can picture it! I'm not exactly sure what they're supposed to do, but we planted seeds years ago and for a few years after that...then they just started coming back each spring. Maybe we got lucky?

  12. Your morning glories are definitely GLORY-ous!!! I love them. We used to have one but when we remodeled sadly it had to go and never came back. I am not a green thumb kind of person so anything that just grows on it's own and looks beautiful is my kind of plant:) Oh, and there is just something about the name MORNING GLORY that makes you want to smile...every morning that God allows me to awake and begin a new day is certainly glorious:)

    1. Thank you so much, Cheri!! They really are GLORY-ous!! Love your play on words!

  13. Hi Kim,
    Your morning glories are amazing. I like all the facts and tips you shared about them in your post, thank you, I learned a few new facts about morning glories that I plan to pass on, and I do not think these folks know what I know now.. Ha, I shall look so smart. ;-)

    1. Wow Carla! I take that as a major compliment coming from a master gardener!!

  14. I absolutely LOVE Morning Glories and as far as I'm concerned, they can take over wherever they want!

  15. If mine looked like yours, they'd be a Pro but sadly, mine are Con!

    1. I wish we could take credit, Christine, they just grow. They must like our dirt! Ha!

  16. I'm still jealous Kim. How I wish were allowed to grow them here in South Africa, but they do run rampant. I suppose our weather plays a big role. There's one spot on the freeway where they have completely covered/smothered the indigenous shrubs the municipality planted and while it looks amazing the seeds have started spreading across the freeway (and it's a double lane and really busy) and now it's taking over. Maybe one day someone will develop a hybrid that doesn't seed like crazy and I'll be the first to order a whole bunch :D

    1. I remember you saying that they were outlawed in South Africa and I was so surprised. I guess your climate is probably very good for them and they run wild. Our season is so short they don't have time for that...but I love learning about other areas. I just picture those little flowers on wanted posters!! Haha!!


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