An Exotic Beauty

Have you ever heard of Moonflower?

Before this weekend, neither had I. Here’s what one looks like:

moonflower

I’d long seen these plants in a yard Dallas and I pass on our daily walks, but frankly, I thought they were some kind of weed. Or maybe a squash.

Was I surprised when someone told me it’s called Moonflower, and the folks who planted it went all the way to Hawaii(?) to get the seeds. They’ve planted six to eight of them in a row alongside the road, but The Gardener’s Network says this is a vining plant and can grow 12-18 feet in a single year!

Most fascinating of all is that Moonflower blooms from dusk to dawn. Unlike my Hibiscus, which blooms during the daylight hours and folds up at night, the Moonflower “glows” during the evening, attracting moths and nighttime strollers.

Moonflower foliage is blue-green and smooth-textured (or so the experts say — I didn’t touch it). The white flowers are trumpet-shaped and grow to five inches in diameter. It’s a perennial in some climates and an annual in others, thriving in full sun and blooming until early fall.

Burpee, the seed people, says Moonflower is fragrant and easy to grow. Better Homes and Gardens says the reason I was able to photograph an open flower in daytime hours is that Moonflower blooms on overcast days until the sun starts shining.

Poor thing — with all the rain we’ve been having this spring and summer, it must be doing a LOT of blooming!

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30 thoughts on “An Exotic Beauty

  1. One of my cactus, Cereus peruvianus, blooms only once a year, and only at night. It opens around 10 p.m., and by 6 a.m., it’s starting to fold up. There was a night-blooming lily in Liberia that did the same thing. It bloomed once a year, although it was willing to hang around for two or three nights. We had lily-watching parties. Pull up some chairs, open a beer, and wait for the flower to do its thing.

    Are you going to try and grow this yourself? It surely is pretty!

    • Kind of makes it hard to photograph them unless you, too, are a night owl, huh, Linda??! I can picture a group of you sitting around that night-blooming lily, beers in hand, laughing and waiting for “the reveal”!! Must have been fun — glad I nudged a happy memory for you.

      No, I don’t think I’m going to try growing Moonflowers. They’re pretty and all, but we have plenty enough moths as it is!

    • I agree, Katybeth. Why should the early birds have all the fun (though these days, I tend to be one of those early birds, ha!). I’m lucky I was out and about before the sun broke through the clouds and fog; otherwise, I might not have seen this thing in bloom.

    • Really? How wonderful! I guess your soil and weather conditions must be perfect for them. Do they come in any other colors — not that the white isn’t striking on its own, but just wondering.

    • Little FULL moons, too, Kim!! Now that I know this one is a night bloomer, I’m going to have to sneak out after dark and see if it really does bloom then. Of course, getting a picture might prove challenging…. Love you bunches!

  2. Oh Debbie, what a beautiful flower! I have never heard of a Moonflower but found it utterly interesting to read about it grows and blossoms.

    Kinda reminds me of a Night Blooming Jasmine. When I lived in Florida, my landlords had a Night Blooming Jasmine that sat directly underneath my garage apartment in the backyard. And OMG, what a wonderful aroma it gave off at night, after the sun went down. I could smell it throughout my entire apartment!

    Hope you had a fabulous weekend, my friend. Gosh, can you believe it’s already the last week of July?

    X to you and Dallas

    • Love Love Love Jasmine! Always reminds me of the South. Recreating that smell and putting it in perfumes was genius! You’re lucky to have been surrounded by such beauty, Ron, and I’m glad my post took you back to a lovely time.

      No, I cannot believe it’s almost August! I know the days are getting shorter, but it hardly feels like we’ve had summer at all. And the stores are already advertising Back-to-School!!

      Happy Monday {{{ YOU }}}

  3. Poor things! They’d be blooming constantly here! Pretty though – and nice that those moths should have something to do at night other than hovering around my light and terrifying me to death…

  4. I love its name and knowing when it blooms, the name makes sense. It’s poetic, meaning that it’s contrary to the pattern of other flowers which bloom in daylight hours. Moon flower sounds romantic, too. Like moonlight, moon glow, and blue moon. But can it see its moon shadow? ;)

    • HaHa, good one, Monica! I think “moonflower” sounds very romantic, too. What a treat for those out strolling at night. I’m glad we had that cloudy, grey morning, or I might never have seen the thing in full bloom either — of course, it didn’t hurt that a friend pointed it out to me!

  5. I’ve never heard of the Moonflower. It’s really pretty! I’m curious why your neighbors had to get seeds from Hawaii though, if the plant is relatively adaptable.

    • I wondered about that, too, Terri. It makes for a great story, though. Probably they were simply vacationing in Hawaii, somebody pointed out these lovely flowers, and they decided they had to have some. Still, I haven’t noticed any Moonflower seeds available locally, so perhaps there’s some truth there!

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