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How to Grow and Care for Ipomoea

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Ipomoea is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Convolvulaceae, with over 500 species. It is a large and diverse group with common names including Morning Glory, Sweet Potato, Bindweed or Moonflower. The most widespread common name is Morning Glory. The generic name is derived from the Greek words "ips" or "ipos", meaning "worm" or "bindweed," and "homoios", meaning "resembling". It refers to their twining habit.

The genus occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world and comprises annual and perennial, herbaceous plants, lianas, shrubs and small trees. Most of the species are twining climbing plants.

Most Ipomoeas have spectacular, colorful flowers and are often grown as ornamentals and a number of cultivars have been developed. Humans use Ipomoea for their content of medical and psychoactive compounds, mainly alkaloids. Some species are renowned for their properties in folk medicine and herbalism. Other species were and still are used as potent entheogens.

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Growing Conditions and General Care

In the garden, Ipomoeas need full sun and moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Provide shelter from wind. Prune climbing species in spring. Under glass, provide full light with protection from the hottest sun. Water freely and fertilize monthly during the growing season, but water sparingly in winter. Climbers and trailing species need support.

Propagation

Chip seeds with a knife, scrape with sandpaper or soak in water for 24 hours before sowing at 64 °F (18 °C) in spring. Root softwood cuttings of perennials or shrubs in spring or summer, or take semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Pests and Problems

White blister, rust, fungal leaf spots, stem rot, thread blight, charcoal rot and wilt can occur.

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