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Genus Ipomoea (Morning glory)

Ipomoea Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie' Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of White Flower Farm
eye-poe-MEE-ah Common Name: Morning glory Synonyms: Mina, Pharbitis
This large genus of about 500 species is made up of annuals, perennials, evergreen shrubs, and trees. Many of the annuals and perennials are trailing or twining climbers. Although mainly grown for their funnel-shaped or tubular flowers, some are grown for their foliage, such as the popular 'Blackie' sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas). Ipomoea can be grown in the greenhouse or outdoors as annuals over a pergola or archway, or as groundcover. 
Noteworthy characteristics: Funnel-shaped or tubular, colorful or white flowers on twining vines, annuals, or perennials. Seeds are highly toxic if eaten.
Care: In the garden, morning glories need moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Provide shelter from wind. Prune climbing species in spring. Under glass, provide full light with protection from the hottest sun. Water freely and fertilize monthly during the growing season, but water sparingly in winter. Climbers and trailing species need support.
Propagation: Chip seeds with a knife, scrape with sandpaper, or soak in water for 24 hours before sowing at 64°F in spring. Root softwood cuttings of perennials or shrubs in spring or summer, or take semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
Problems: White blister, rust, fungal leaf spots, stem rot, thread blight, charcoal rot, and wilt can occur.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Ipomoea

Ipomoea × multifida Ipomoea × multifida
(Cardinal climber)
(1 user review)

Cardinal climber is a twining annual with deeply lobed mid-green leaves and 1-inch crimson blooms with white throats appearing in summer.

Ipomoea × sloteri Ipomoea × sloteri
(Cardinal climber)
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Cardinal climber has deeply cut foliage and rich crimson, trumpet-shaped flowers from mid-summer to fall. Grow in a greenhouse or in a warm spot in the garden.

Ipomoea alba Ipomoea alba
(Belle-de-nuit, Moonflower)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This twining perennial has evergreen, oval or rounded, mid- to dark green leaves. Fragrant, 6-inch white blooms appear in early summer to fall, opening in early evening.

Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita' Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita'
('Margarita' sweet potato vine)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This sweet potato vine has lime green leaves that light up in the sunlight and look paler in part shade. 'Margarita' is a real eye-catcher growing over the edge of a wall or creeping along the fringes of a border. -Julia Jones, Designing with Annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120

Ipomoea batatas 'Pink Frost' Ipomoea batatas 'Pink Frost'
('Pink Frost' sweet potato vine)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This sweet potato vine is blessed with leaves that are edged in pink. Use it in containers, as a groundcover, or in beds and borders. Growing it with pink-flowered plants calls attention to the variegation.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’ Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’
(Sweet potato vine)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender tuberous perennial with heart-shaped, lobed, almost black leaves bears trumpet-shaped lavender to pale purple flowers. It is excellent in containers or weaving among other plants in beds and borders.

Ipomoea lobata Ipomoea lobata
(Firecracker vine, Spanish flag)
(2 user reviews)

This unusual annual vine can add vertical interest to the garden. Its vivid blossoms (red tooth-like flowers that fade to orange and then yellow and white) are a hummingbird magnet. Firecracker vine can bloom year round in warm climates, but generally blooms from summer to fall. It is a native of Mexico and Central and South America. -Julia Jones, Designing with Annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120

Ipomoea quamoclit Ipomoea quamoclit
(Cypress vine, Star glory)
(5 user reviews)

An annual twining climber with deeply cut, feather-fine leaves, cypress vine bears rich red inch-wide blossoms. Slender-tubed starry flowers are beautifully set off by gossamer foliage and stay open all day long.

Ipomoea tricolor and cvs. Ipomoea tricolor and cvs.
(Morning glory)
(4 user reviews)

Morning glory is a fast-growing, twining annual with heart-shaped light to mid-green leaves and vibrantly colored, funnel-shaped flowers to 3 inches across. Cultivars include white-colored ‘Pearly Gates’; ‘Heavenly Blue’; crimson-colored, white-throated ‘Crimson Rambler’; and ‘Flying Saucers’, a batik-looking blend of white and blue accented by a golden throat.