Monday, September 12, 2016

Moonflowers and Hummingbird Moths

Want a perfect deck plant that will be a conversation piece for Saturday night barbeques?

The moonflower is blooming right now, putting on a marvelous show with its heart-shaped leaves a luscious green and its petals nightly unfurling like snowy umbrellas. If you, like me, have a soft spot for plants with a lovely fragrance, you won't believe your luck with the moonflower.
Moonflower in the process of blooming
These are vines, so they need a trellis or post to cling to. However, for us at least, they're well-behaved, nothing like the Sweet Autumn Clematis that likes to subdue everything in its path (more on that plant later).
Moonflower bound like umbrellas about to unfurl
among the garlic chives
Moonflowers do like to be watered, so make sure they're not too far from the spigot. Then sit back and enjoy the show all through September, not just the fabulous way it blooms before your eyes but also look out for its chief visitors: mombo hummingbird moths that are sure to give you a start as they zoom about like Boeings.

Moonflowers are easy to propagate, as once they are all finished blooming, the dried pea-sized seeds take little effort to free from their housings. Just save them over the winter and cast them in a pot in February/March the next year. You could soak them overnight before planting to ensure more successes...or not.

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