Is Ipomea grandiflora the blue morning glory?

true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)May 28, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I was at my trusted nursery (Montreal, Canada) shopping for a blue flowered morning glory.

The lady sold me something under the name of Ipomea grandiflora, which barely resembles a morning glory vine.

She went on great lengths telling me that this plant was much better than the ones propagated by seed. She said, cuttings make for a stronger, healthier plant, with "giant" blue flowers.

Well I haven't seen a single flower yet :(

The leaves are coarse, thick and dark green & they are not heart shaped.

The stems are hairy.

It has none of the daintiness and grace of the morning glory vines.

I searched the web and found contradictory information about the name.

I wonder if anyone has grown this vine and can give me some information about it.


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Blue sky vine is botanically known as Thunbergia grandiflora.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 2:03PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)


Thank you for your comment. However, the name I was given was Ipomea and not Thunbergia. I would love to have thunbergia but I checked the leaves & they don't seem to be the same.

I'm posting a photo of the leaves.
Ipomea grandiflora leaves

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 4:04PM
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This is only a guess on my part, based on your description of the vine and the leaf picture. You may have Ipomoea indica, which is a beautiful blue perennial morning glory common in warm climates. Try giving the plant a bloom booster fertilizer to prompt it to produce flowers.

It rarely produces seeds, so it's propagated by cuttings or offsets produced via its stolons. It can have either club shaped or tri-lobed leaves. I'm including a Google link to pictures of this species. The best pictures I could find of tri-lobed leaves together with the flowers were in Spanish or German, which is why I didn't link directly to them.

If this is what you have, the plant is root hardy if it's protected from freezing, or you can take cuttings to overwinter. The cuttings root very easily.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of Ipomoea indica

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 7:56PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Thank you so much for your response musarojo.
I believe it truly is Ipomea indica :)

I was told that one should't fertilize the Ipomea family, I did so once with the classic blue Ipoema and I never saw flowers, but leaves and twines.

Is Ipoema indica different from the others in this regard?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:07PM
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One should avoid giving morning glories too much nitrogen, as this will cause an overgrowth of leaves with few flowers. A bloom fertilizer will have more phosphorus (the middle number in the formula ratio) than nitrogen. Like all plants, morning glories do need some nitrogen. A bloom fertilizer will nudge the plant out of a vegetative phase and into a blooming phase.

This species was recorded as having produced 6,600 flowers over the course of a year when first introduced as a greenhouse plant in England. In warm climates people have a love/hate relationship with this plant. It can produce several hundred flowers per day, but it can also overrun houses and trees very quickly. My parents would not allow this plant on our property in Florida, and as an adult in California I was content to enjoy it when other people grew it. Now that I live in a climate where it's not winter hardy, I've recently acquired a specimen and will overwinter it in my greenhouse.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:44PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Thank you for the clarification and sharing all the interesting and intriguing tidbits about this plant.

I am happy that you can finally enjoy the plant, I know that feeling of wishing for a plant for so long.

I have to admit that I'm still weary about the fertilizing aspect. But, I'll keep an open mind. I'll wait for another week and if nothing happens, then I'll give a 15-30-15 and see.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:05AM
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true-blue - Ipomoea grandiflora is an old synonym for Ipomoea alba and Ipomoea violacea...most 'stores' use whatever 'exotic sounding' names they think will help sell a plant...few people are up on the current binomials within the Morning Glory Family of Convolvulaceae.

You received good advice from musarojo , although the Ipomoea indica tends to flower when the daylight length gets progressively shorter and it definitely prefers full sun all day long...if the full sunlight hours are too few during the main vegetative growth period , you probably will get few or no blooms....that is the way Ipomoea indica behaves...

There are Big Myths regarding various species of Morning Glories and the fuzzy term 'fertilizer' which can consist of any ratio of the various (20+) elements known to be essential or beneficial to plant life.

The different elements do different things , but when people think of fertilizer in 'fuzzy' terms , the result is fuzzy answers which are more often misleading generalities rather than how the individual specific component elements affect a specific species...

Musaro is correct about the phosphorus and those who have studied and grown the many different species of Morning Glories for long enough (including the Japanese Asagao) know (!) that the different species require different nutrient ratios.

Bloom Booster is mostly phosphorus because it stimulates blooming in most plants and regarding Morning Glory species the bloom stimulating qualities are not simply the result of a pre-existing phosphorus deficiency , but only those who have sufficient experience with MG's will know for certain...

There is no substitute for patience in allowing the plants to respond naturally to the right environment...some phosphorus may help but don't overdue it , as even bloom booster can then be counter-productive.

Living Soil (full of mature compost) teeming with beneficial microbes and beneficial fungi will help the plant absorb the nutrients more efficiently, so remember to Feed the Soil , which will then feed and take care of the plants...

Good Luck with your Ipomoea indica.



    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 2:37AM
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P.S. - Just for the record , there used to be a Blue colored form of Ipomoea alba that was dispensed in the early 1930's by some seed companies but the blue Ipomoea alba has been MIA for a very long time...

I'm hoping to relocate the rare Blue colored form of Ipomoea alba...



    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 2:44AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Hi Ron,

Thanks for all this enlightening information.
I actually have an Ipomea alba in a pot, which I overwintered last year.
But it leaves and those of Ipoema violacea have nothing in common with the Indica.

As I'd heard that morning glories don't like being transplanted, so I decided against planting it, so it is still in it's pot.

What I did was untwining it, from the bent bamboo poles so that it would cover the arbor.

However from what you say, it will hardly flower, as mine is in a "bright" part shade area.

Several years ago, I had an Ipomea tricolor in the same spot and it flowered quite fine.

My garden is mostly part sun / shade, 3 to 4 hours max. So it seems that I either have to chuck it out, or keep it as an experiment.

To paraphrase you, it might take off, with patience, regardless it's less than perfect environment.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 7:47AM
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Well, I wish I could find someone who'd share some Ipomoea indica with me. I lost mine when I moved, and I miss it!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:41PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)


I thought I make an update.
The Ipomoea indica , flowered on July 14th.
It is now full of buds and is flowering regularly.

Some photos:

The "clustered" flower buds

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:11PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

The flower forming:

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:15PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

And finally the flower:
They are really big, firm and they are open from dawn to dusk.
Mine are an indigo color.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:21PM
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I'm glad it's blooming for you; it's gorgeous! The most common clones open deep blue/purple, turn a brighter blue by midmorning, and by evening are a pinkish purple color. In cool fall weather the bloom may survive into a second day, by which time it may have aged to fuchsia. I know of a woman who has a form that stays blue and doesn't go through color changes as the day progresses. Different clones also vary in how prominent the central star is. In Europe and Japan there are named varieties available in colors other than blue. Does yours change color as the day progresses?

The plant I had was growing very well until a pig-like wild animal known as a javelina ate it. I've obtained another specimen which is growing well, but it may not have time to bloom this year.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:23AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Hi musarojo,

I'm sorry your plant was eaten. You never know, if the season is long enough you might have flowers in September or October.
Last year, I planted a moon flower in June and had a couple of flowers by October :)

However, Ipomoea Indica is gorgeous, sturdy and and well worth the wait, Mine is the common clone. The color changes as the day progresses. If I well remember it starts with a deep indigo and by the end of the day (if the weather is 68/79 range) it will turn into fuchsia.
However, if we have a heat wave, the flower curls back and turns into pink by 2 pm.

I'm looking forward to see a 2 day flower. I think the longest a flower was open was till the next morning.
Here is the picture of the flower curling up in midday sun heat (it was a very hot day), as you can see the color is between purple and pink already.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 5:07PM
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Having just joined this forum and come across the post about I.Grandiflora/I.Indica rather belatedly, I feel I must impart some of my experience in growing this plant in the coastal area of Athens, Greece. First of all it is a truly spectacular plant when in full bloom. It flowers profusely almost all year round, it is totally carefree and pest free (apart from the occasional slug attacking its leaves) it is adaptable to many types of environment, soil and weather conditions, it is relatively moderate in water requirements. Finally, it grows, and grows, and grows, and spreads all over on soil or plants! It is this last attribute of the plant that one should take into serious consideration as it clearly presents invasive potential. Having been attracted by the aesthetic appeal of its wonderful flowers I planted it in my garden. I left it uncontrolled for two years and it has taken over every single plant and tree in the garden covering them entirely with its foliage and reducing sunlight exposure. I am attaching photos to show the way the plant has expanded. My advice to prospective growers of this plant is to enjoy its beauty, but control its growth very regularly unless they have plenty of land available, with little or no vegetation on it, that has to be covered quickly. Alternatively one may grow it in a pot. I have done it and the plant is thriving.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Betelgeuse3 - Thanks for sharing your experience , although most of us who have been growing Ipomoea indica are already aware that it can grow quickly and cover nearby structures that it can climb up on...although a reminder is certainly welcome.

Would you consider going into your settings and allowing other members to send you private e-mails , as sometimes private correspondence is the best way to address particular subjects.

Thanks again for your contribution(s).


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    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 6:40AM
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Nice photos of I. indica everyone.

Ron, I would fall over on seeing a blue Ipomoea alba flower.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 10:35AM
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