Caring for the Moonflower Plant

By Holly Schoch , last updated January 30, 2012

The moonflower plant requires very little care after it is established. However, there are steps you can take to ensure the success of your plant as well as basic guidelines to follow to ensure moonflowers grow to their fullest extent.

The moonflower is the exotic cousin of the morning glory, though many people seem to think they are the same plant but with different blooming times. While morning glories bloom during the day and close for the evening, moonflowers do the opposite. Their buds remain curled, and as the evening approaches, they begin to show off their gorgeous star-like flower, which can reach almost 6 inches in diameter. They are generally white or off white in color, greatly complimenting the rich green color of the surrounding foliage.

Moonflowers thrive in average soils, making it harmful to fertilize it or enhance the soil in anyway. Fertilizing a mature plant can encourage excess foliage production at the expense of its gorgeous flowers. Though the moonflower boasts deep green, heart-shaped leaves, it does not justify sacrificing its equally beautiful blooms. Though the soil does not have to be of excellent quality, it still must maintain a slightly acidic pH level. After every other growing season, be sure to check the pH levels in your soil and adjust accordingly. This will help ensure the plants success.

Moonflowers only require semi-frequent watering, perhaps once or twice a week, depending on your area and the amount of rainfall received. Do not allow the soil to become soggy or wet, but kept moist. When it appears slightly dry, it is time to water it again. Overwatering moonflowers will result in discoloration in its blooms and foliage as well as a weakened root system.

At the end of each season, if you do not wish for more moonflowers to be planted or you intend on planting them yourself, deadhead the flowers as soon as they begin to wilt and die. Moonflowers are self-seeding, meaning that they will scatter their seeds when their own blooms die to produce new plants for the next growing cycle.

Keep moonflowers near some sort of support structure. This plant is a well adept climber and requires structures, such as trellises or fences, to wrap around and climb. This allows the plant to be exposed to equal amounts of light that would otherwise be blocked to certain parts of its vine if it were clumped on the ground. It also keeps it away from the moisture of the soil, which could rot the leaves and flowers.

Do not be alarmed if the plant is late to bloom. Moonflowers are notoriously stubborn when it comes to their seeds germinating. When the soil begins to warm and summer temperatures heat the air, you will begin to see signs of life in moonflowers. With proper care, mainly careful watering and avoiding too many nutrients, moonflowers will offer endless enjoyment as you sit outside. As the sun begins to set and the moon begins to show itself, so too will moonflowers expose their delicate blooms.

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