February 18, 2016

Bush Morning Glory

If you are a fan of the lovely morning glory vines and their saucer shaped colorful blooms but just don’t have the space for a large sprawling vine, bush morning glory can make a great substitute. Although not a true morning glory, these shrubby annuals are actually in the bindweed family. But don’t be alarmed, these annual plants are not climbing or twining so there is no need to worry about them choking out other nearby plants. They form small mounds of brightly tricolor blooms for long periods and often times self seed for years of color.

genus name
  • Convolvulus tricolor
light
  • Sun
plant type
height
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • From 1 to 2 feet
flower color
foliage color
season features
zones
  • 2,
  • 3,
  • 4,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 7,
  • 8,
  • 9,
  • 10,
  • 11
propagation

Colorful Combinations

If you are a fan of big, bold colors, bush morning glories are a great choice for your garden. The most common varieties show off some truly stunning colored blooms in a trio of shades, with a yellow center, white mid ring, and rich blue outer ring. If those colors are a bit too intense for your garden palette, there are several more subdued shades available as well. As most of these plants are seed grown varieties, the colors can vary slightly, especially when purchased as a seed mix. These mixes often come with shades of soft pink, white, purple and blue.

Almost all of the varieties have tri-colored blooms. These lovely flowers are borne in profusion from early summer into the fall, in mild climates they may not quit until the frost knocks them out! The foliage is a simple heart shaped leaf in a nice medium green color that makes a good backdrop for the standout flowers.  

Bush Morning Glory Care Must-Knows

This easy to grow annual can add loads of color to borders and containers with very little input. Hailing form Mediterranean areas of the world, bush morning glory plants like well drained soils that don't stay too wet. This makes them a great choice for use in rock gardens for seasonal color, but they also do just fine in regular garden soils. As they get started from seed, keep the plants watered regularly so they stay nice and moist until established. At this point, they tolerate drought quite well.  Bush morning glory plants are used to growing in fairly poor soils, so don't over fertilize them, otherwise you will get lots of lush green foliage and lanky growth and very few flowers. 

It's also important to grow bush morning glories in full sun. This helps to keep plant habits from becoming too sprawling and makes sure there is a constant supply of blooms throughout their peak season. Too much shade can lead to floppy plants with an open habit that isn't very appealing in a garden setting. They also bloom much more poorly in lower light settings. 

Because bush morning glories are such easy to grow plants, and also fast growers, you typically won't see plants available for sale. These plants are easily started from seed in the spring, and can be sown directly in the ground. The seeds have a fairly hard outer coating, so score them with a file or give them a little knick with a nail clippers to help them take up water more quickly. After they bloom, bush morning glory tends to seed about the garden some, and seeds can be collected for future years planting as well.

More Varieties of Bush Morning Glory

'Ensign Blue' Bush Morning Glory

Convolvulus 'Ensign Blue' bears gorgeous true-blue flowers with a clear yellow eye. It grows 18 inches tall.

'Ensign White' Bush Morning Glory

Convolvulus 'Ensign White' bears beautiful white flowers that have a yellow eye. Plants grow about 18 inches tall.

Ground Morning Glory

Convolvulus mauritanicus is a drought-resistant groundcover with gray-green leaves and sky blue flowers in summer. It grows 1 foot tall and 3 feet wide. Perennial in Zones 8-9.

Plant Bush Morning Glory With:

You can depend on this cottage-garden favorite to fill your garden with color all season long. The simple, daisylike flowers appear in cheery shades on tall stems that are great for cutting. The lacy foliage makes a great backdrop for shorter plants, as well. Cosmos often self-seeds in the garden, so you may only have to plant it once, though the colors can appear muddy or odd in the reseeders.Plant cosmos from seed directly in the ground in spring. Or start from established seedlings. This flower doesn't like fertilizing or conditions that are too rich, which causes the foliage to be large and lush but with fewer blooms. It does best with average moisture but will tolerate drought.

Cheery melampodium has sunshine-yellow flowers on deeply green leaves. It's a mainstay for hot, sunny spots, where it will produce a profusion of yellow daisy-shape blooms all summer. While it likes heat and sun, it doesn't like dry conditions. It must be kept moist, or it will wither and likely not recover.Melampodium is an excellent plant for containers or in the front of the border (especially in slightly soggy soil). Its tidy growth habit makes it a good pick for edging, too. Plant it outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

There are few gardens that don't have at least one salvia growing in them. Whether you have sun or shade, a dry garden or lots of rainfall, there's an annual salvia that you'll find indispensable. All attract hummingbirds, especially the red ones, and are great picks for hot, dry sites where you want tons of color all season. Most salvias don't like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.


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