Don’t worry if your favorite morning glory is not blooming this season. There are several steps you can take to make sure your morning glory produces big, beautiful flowers throughout the summer.
Morning glory vines are a unique plant. Many people love them, planting them along fences and using them as cover for less-than-perfect structures. Others see morning glory vines as an invasive threat that is incredibly difficult to control once they have become established.
This article will discuss the reasons morning glory vines may not be producing buds and will share some ideas for encouraging excellent production. At the same time, the ideas for encouraging blooms can also be useful for people who are trying to eradicate morning glory as a way to slow the tenacious growing plant from spreading.
Why is Your Morning Glory Not Blooming?
The most common reason morning glory plants do not bloom is because of too-rich soil. Most flowering plants around your garden grow and flower best when regularly fed a high-quality fertilizer and when growing in rich soil.
Morning glories are the outsiders in the garden. They do best in poor quality soil with few nutrients and irregular watering, unlike more finicky plants. When growing morning glories, it’s important to pay close attention to the plant food or fertilizer you give the plant.
Nitrogen tends to be one of the biggest culprits of morning glory vines refusing to bloom. Morning glories use nitrogen for the growth of stems, stalks, and vines. When there is too much nitrogen available, morning glory vines will not produce flower buds, instead simply growing larger.
It’s easy to tell if too much nitrogen is the problem because the morning glory plant will be bright, vibrant green with lots of vine growth, but no buds. Excessive nitrogen also harms root growth and can create weak plants.
What to do About Too Much Nitrogen
Unfortunately, there are only a few things you can do to reduce nitrogen to encourage morning glories to bloom. Carbon is often used to reduce nitrogen levels in the soil. The best way to do this with established morning glory plants is to spread sawdust or small wood chips across the surface. As these products break down, they absorb nitrogen and create carbon.
Another way to reduce nitrogen in the soil is to grow plants nearby that are high nitrogen users, such as cabbage, broccoli, and corn. These vegetables may not look healthy while growing and probably won’t produce blooms or fruit, but they will function sacrificially to absorb and reduce nitrogen.
Recent research indicates that activated charcoal and tannin extracts can effectively bind nitrogen molecules, lowering the amount of nitrogen in the soil.
Avoiding Too Much Nitrogen
Obviously, the easiest way to reduce nitrogen levels in the soil begins before you plant your morning glories. Avoid using fertilizers with high amounts of nitrogen, particularly lawn fertilizers and turf builders. These products will negatively impact bloom production on most plants, including morning glories.
If you are using compost for your plants, avoid excessive coffee grounds when planting morning glories. Coffee grounds and filters make great compost, but the nitrogen-rich soil will be detrimental to morning glory flower production.
In general, morning glories should not require fertilizer. They tend to grow best in poor quality soil low in nutrients. Adding nutrients to the soil may weaken the plant, prevent proper root growth, and cause the plant to never bloom.
How to Make Morning Glories Not Bloom
This one is for those people who are struggling to contain the massive growth of wild or rogue morning glories. These prolific plants will grow just about anywhere, and once established, they are prolific self-seeding plants that are nearly impossible to get rid of.
One way to help cut down on morning glories is to add coffee grounds and lawn fertilizer in large amounts. While the plants may grow big and strong, they won’t bloom. Without blooming, the morning glory vine can’t make seeds and it will eventually stop growing back the next year.
Fertilizers high in nitrogen can also burn the plants, causing them to die quickly. Used coffee grounds can be spread around the soil or worked into the soil in areas where morning glories are growing out of control. The high levels of nitrogen in coffee grounds also weaken root structures of existing plants, causing the overgrown parts to break, fall, and die.
How to Make Morning Glories Bloom
There are several important tips and tricks you can use to get the best, most vibrant, and healthiest morning glory blooms from your plants.
All it takes is some planning and a little know-how to get showy and consistent blooms early in the season, all the way to the first frost. First, you’ll want to understand a little about the lifecycle of morning glory vines to understand how to encourage blooming.
– When Do Morning Glories Bloom?
Morning glory vines can begin budding as soon as mid-spring and may produce flowers until the first frost. They are often a late-blooming plant and sometimes won’t begin showing large numbers of flowers until late summer.
Most varieties of morning glories will reliably produce flowers from May to September. There are steps the gardener can take to encourage consistently blooming morning glories.
– Start Early
One of the best ways to get your morning glories blooming early in the season is to start them early. If you are sprouting from a seed, you can start them four-to-six weeks before the last frost, and even up to two months.
A seedling mat can be used to prevent temperature swings that will stunt the growth of new plants. These mats are like miniature electric blankets that you plug in to keep the soil warm when sprouting.
– Use a Grow Bag or Pot
By starting your vines early, you’ll have larger, more robust plants when it’s time to plant them in the ground. A great tip for successfully transplanting morning glory seedlings is to use biodegradable growing bags or pots. These are made of materials that naturally break down, so when you transplant, you don’t disturb the roots.
Morning glory seedlings are particularly susceptible to damage during transplanting, so these bags not only make the task easier, it’s more successful too.
– Plant in the Morning Glories Favorite Place
Morning glories are notorious for overgrowing areas, seemingly swallowing objects from all sides. But if you want to get the best-looking flowers from your morning glories, you’ll want to start them in their favorite places.
Morning glory vines love to be in the full sun. They do best when getting the maximum amount of sun, and they really need the long hours of the day to make beautiful blooms. If your morning glory is growing in heavily shaded areas or areas where they get part-sun most of the day, the vines will not likely produce many flowers. Always try to plant morning glory in places where it gets early and all-day sun.
While wild morning glories are often seen growing in ditches and sandy areas by the side of the road, you’ll want to give your morning glories something to climb on for the best flower production. You can use a trellis, an archway, or even twine to create obstacles for your morning glory to twine on. Many species of morning glory can climb 20 feet or higher, so be prepared to provide plenty of room vertically.
– Don’t Use Fertilizers
When you are preparing your garden for planting morning glories, you can make sure the plants will be successful by taking some simple steps. The first thing to do is to ensure the soil is well-draining. Morning glories are drought-tolerant, but can’t survive excessively wet environments. Too little drainage will result in root rot, poor vegetative growth, and few if any blooms.
Use a good-quality in-ground potting soil, and don’t add fertilizer. Morning glory grows best in poor soil, and adding fertilizer doesn’t make them grow better. It’s a great idea to place wood mulch on the ground around the stalks. Mulch draws excess nitrogen from the soil and helps prevent weeds and overwatering.
– Enhancing the Color of Morning Glory Blooms
Morning glories are known for one of the more interesting phenomenons in the plant world: the color shift. If you photograph a morning glory early in the day when it first opens, then several times throughout the day, it will shift in color from a bluer shade toward a redder shade.
This change in color is caused by reactions to changes in pH levels. As temperatures rise, pH levels drop in the soil, providing a more acidic environment. Morning glory flowers react strongly to changes in pH.
Scientists in Japan demonstrated this by placing a morning glory flower in a sealed box with dry ice. The dry ice caused a spike in acidity, lowering the pH, and resulting in a change from blue to pink.
You can take advantage of this phenomenon at home by increasing or reducing the acidity of the soil. More acidic soil will enhance the red tones, great for those varieties that show pink and magenta flowers, and also produce purplish-blue flowers on blue varieties. More alkaline soil will encourage morning glory flowers to be deeper blue.
Morning glory vines are among the easiest of all garden plants to grow but don’t be discouraged if yours are struggling. The information in this article can help you identify why your plants aren’t blooming and get your garden on the right track.
One of the important things to remember about morning glories is they are a late-blooming flower that loves full sun and poor soil. If your plants aren’t blooming, it might be too soon. It’s not uncommon for morning glory plants to start blooming in late August or even September. Adding mulch to the surface soil may help draw excess nitrogen and encourage blooming when the soil conditions are too rich.
The best thing about morning glories is the large, bright flowers that unroll as if to say hello to each day. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are a fantastic way to create shade and privacy. Make sure when you plant morning glories that the plants will get to take advantage of as much of the day as possible. They will reward you with the most beautiful flowers.