I have mixed feelings about Moonflowers. They are devilishly hard to grow…at least this is true in my case. Every year I am lured by the packages of seeds with the big white bloom on the front. I am also tantalized by the thought of inhaling their fragrance once again. Last year, the one Moonflower vine I grew under lights was killed by an unseasonable frost. This year, I started my seeds even earlier and had three out of a dozen or so seeds sprout and grow. Two of the vines were piddling, but one was a winner. This vine grew and twined itself around all the other small sprouts on my grow table. I was entranced, then disaster struck, the dreaded spider mite. I would not give up on the plant and discard it as I knew I should. Instead I diligently sprayed the plant with a mister several times a day. In fact, I sprayed all my sprouts as a precaution in combating the spider mites. Mites hate moisture, the best way to kill them is to drown them.
Long story a bit shorter…here’s a photograph of my best Moonflower vine ever. The early start, the constant misting, produced a plant that is already blooming for me. It’s been blooming for about two weeks here in Southern New Jersey. This afternoon I spotted a beautiful bud and thought the flower was ready to unfurl it’s petals. Tonight I checked the plant, and yes, a gorgeous bloom had opened and was filling the air with its lovely, ethereal fragrance. How could anyone not love a Moonflower?
My best advice for growing Moonflowers…start much earlier than the package of seeds recommends. When the seeds first appear in nurseries buy a packet and plant them that same week. I soak the seeds for about 24 hours, I sometimes nick the outer shell, but this year did not take the time to do this. Plant the seeds about half an inch down in seed starter. I cover the pot with plastic wrap and place the container near a heat vent. Check for sprouting every day. If the seeds do not emerge within four weeks throw them out and try again. Many times the seeds I plant rot in the soil. I don’t know why, but they do…persevere and plant again.