What is fragrant, intriguing, and best enjoyed in the garden at dusk? ( Hint: it is not a bat wearing Old Spice cologne.) Moonvine is a noctural member of the morning glory family.
After a couple of years going without annual vines on a garden trellis, I found some seeds in a Charlotte store for spring planting. From previous experience I learned to soak the seeds a couple of days before sowing them. Despite the extra seed handling required I didn’t get 100% success…but 2 out of 3 seeds making vigorous, garden worthy plants may not be too bad after all.
Moonvine likes a hot spot and average soil with plenty of head room when the plant explodes in all directions by midsummer. I like this carefree, pest resistant beauty; a no frills tender vine. By August, huge, saucer-size blooms grace the evening, lasting until midmorning when they wilt in the heat. Don’t expect the sweet scent of perfumed flowers to fill the air though- unlike daphne and gardenias - their fragrance must be appreciated up close.
I most love their pure white flowers and the stark constrast with other late summer perennial blossoms. The slight trouble in keeping the rangy twining shoots tied to a trellis is worth the casual effort.
I keep hoping to discover an exotic moth exploring the moonvine trellis for a taste of its nectar, but I am convinced that NC is not a natural environ for this type of symbiotic relationship….and that’s the downside for the scientist in me.