Moonflower

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Moonflower

The name itself conjures up an allure. It sounds so seductive. It sounds so mysterious. It sounds so pretty; moonflower. When I first heard about how it unravels itself at sunset over a matter of minutes, I was immediately attracted to it. Its existence is so poetic.  I knew I had to have it once I found out it was fragrant. That just made it over the top exciting for me.  So I did my research.  Once I researched it I became so conflicted because I found that it can be invasive in some zones. All parts of it are poisonous. Then I came across the fact that the CDC reports that a person who has ingested Moonflower may experience anxiety, confusion, hallucinations and coma which would likely take place within 1 hour of the ingestion of Moonflower. I was pretty sure I didn’t have to worry about my kids eating flowers as long as the flowers didn’t look like sour candy or chocolates.  So the real kicker for me was that it attracts bats!  Now, I don’t know about you, but I do not want to attract bats to my yard. I know, I know, they are beneficial because they eat the mosquitos and other unwanted insects in your yard. I just didn’t want my 2 year old to walk into my backyard and find a bat hanging upside down by its tail.

But I got over all of that and planted it for the first time ever. I started the seeds pretty late. So they are just started budding in mid-October. And I was so excited I was going to get my first bloom! It was a matter of a day or two before it unfolded, then it aborted! I’m sure you can imagine my intense disappointment. In fact, all the little blooms started falling off one by one. Its late November now and I’m still waiting for one little bloom to mature. If I could only just smell ONE bloom, I swear I would be satisfied and feel my mission was accomplished. But I am not giving up on it. It’s a perennial in zone 10 where I live so I’m thinking; next year will be my year. Does anyone out there have a description for what it smells like? I would love to know how you describe its fragrance.

On a fun note, I picked up a book called “Flower Therapy” which stated that the energetic properties associated with Moonflower are: Breaking cycles, getting back on track and clearing up confusion. It is also associated with the crown chakra.  Another interesting note is that moonflowers attract hummingbird moths which are said to be very interesting visitors to the yard. Historically, ancient Mesoamerican people used extracts from the Moonflower plant in the manufacture of a rubber substance.

If you are interested in growing Moonflower, you should know it is a relative of the Morning Glory. The seeds are hard and should be soaked overnight in water before planting. Some people even nick them slightly with a knife or file them a bit. They can be invasive in more humid zones. They do best in full sun and like humidity. They will climb up trees, archways, fences or any other structure you plant them near. The blooms can be as large as 6-8 inches in diameter.  The Moonflower is a tropical perennial vine. In colder climates it is an annual as it cannot tolerate frost.