Moonflower seed takes some convincing…

Moonflower or Ipomoea alba is a glorious vine we start from seed every year. On these last days of March I am dreaming of its huge, fragrant, white trumpets that will unfurl in the evenings and perfume the warm nights of late summer.  Moonflower is a late bloomer and starting seeds early helps insure that we do indeed see some flowers before the deep freeze ends our upstate NY growing season.

It all begins with convincing these chunky seeds to germinate by cracking their hard coats.

First step was to gently file the scarred end of each seed, then soak in a wet paper towel.

First step was to gently file the side of each seed, then soak in a wet paper towel in a covered container to retain moisture (recycled take-out food containers are great for this).

After a couple of days the seed coat is softening up.

After a couple of days of soaking the seed coat is softening up.

After four days there are perfect squiggly roots and even some green leaves emerging.

After four days there are strong squiggly roots and even some green leaves emerging.

We're lucky we checked today since there's nary a brown root in sight...perfect and searching for some dirt!

We’re lucky we checked today since there’s nary a brown root in sight…perfect and searching for some dirt!

Now it's two seedlings per pot with the pointed end and root heading down.

Now it’s two seedlings per pot with the pointed end and root heading down.

They're so ready to grow! I'll add another picture when we have some big crinkly leaves....

They’re so ready to grow! I’ll add another picture when we have some big crinkly leaves….

Advertisements

Tender plants take cover!

_DSC0138

According to the Weather Underground forecast for Ithaca, NY, the temperature will be dipping down close to freezing tonight. Mom has moved some of the tender porch plants into her back room where they will hunker down for the next five or six (!) months. These Begonias, Fuchsias, and Pelargoniums looked big on the porch but now that they’re inside they are really huge. Some will sulk and suffer through the dark days of winter.  Some will bloom straight through. Many leaves will curl and fall. But as the light and warmth return, these plants will live to see another summer.