Ipomoea alba (Moonflower, Evening Glory) [synonym Calonyction aculeatum]

Native to the Central Americas, Moonflowers are exceptionally fast growers that are invasive in given areas. Their vine-like behavior allows them to attach to trees, fences, etc. The flowers begin to open during the evening and open through the night. The flowers usually shrivel in the morning, although many are produced to compensate for their short lifespans.

Ipomoea alba (Moonflower, Evening Glory) [synonym Calonyction aculeatum]
Deciduous: no, tropical (may die off to the base in native zones during droughts)
Hardiness Zones: 9-12
Height: up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) tall in one summer growing season, up to 10 meters (33 feet) in tropical regions through intense climbing with vines
Diameter: varies depending upon how far they spread
Growth Rate: very rapid
Age: perennial, commonly grown as an annual
Root System: extensive, may produce adventitious roots
Family: Convolvulaceae
Subspecies: ‘Silvercup’

Tolerates: short, minor dry periods
Problems (major): none, generally disease/pest free
Problems (minor): In natural hardiness ranges, these may be invasive and cover canopies. Soggy/wet soil and droughts/prolonged dry spells may be fatal.
Poisonous: none known

Soil requirements: prefers nutrient-rich loams, intolerant of heavy/clay soils
Air requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: prefer consistently moist, but not wet, conditions – tolerates brief dry periods
Sun requirement: full sun (preferred) to partial shade (survives in bright windowsills)

Leaf size: to 20 centimeters (8 inches) long by 16 centimeters (7 inches) wide
Leaf shape: heart-shaped
Stem length: to over 30 feet in total length in natural habitats
Other stem qualities: prickly, herbaceous
Flowering structure: funnel/trumpet shaped, fragrant, white, to 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide at the “mouth” of the funnel
Flowering frequency: Mid-summer, blooms typically last only one night but are produced in high quantities.
Fruits: spherical, spiky seed pods, seeds usually white
Epiphyte: Vines may latch onto substrates (trees, fences, etc.).
Propogation methods: via seeds or runners

Notable characteristics:
The seeds will readily germinate in a few days or a week in soils between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The flowers are hermaphroditic, making Moonflowers monoecious.

These are primarily grown as ornamentals for their flowers’ aesthetic appeal.

Sources used:

moonflower1 moonflower2 moonflower3 moonflower4 moonflower5 Moonflowers opening as dusk falls

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.



Filed under Plant Analysis

2 responses to “Ipomoea alba (Moonflower, Evening Glory) [synonym Calonyction aculeatum]

  1. That’s not an ipomoea alba in your photos — it’s a type of datura. Still a very cool plant, also with white fragrant flowers that open at dusk — but not a moonflower. 🙂

  2. I was going to comment the same thing as Theodore, it looks like a Datura, which sometimes are called moon flower, but are not ipomoea.

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