Over the Moon for Moonflowers

In my previous post I mentioned that my moonflowers (datura) were cascading over the crushed limestone pathway.  We’ve had lots of rain here in West Michigan, and the moonflowers keep growing.  I love this rambunctious shrubby plant.  First, it almost completely disappears when the frost hits. The leaves shrivel and die, leaving thick twisted and woody stalks that look more like branches from a fallen tree than the stalks of a flowering plant.  Each spring I have a momentary lapse of faith in my moonflowers, thinking they did not survive the winter.  In fact, this spring I bought a plant.  But each year I finally see a tiny green wrinkled leaf emerge.  It grows from the roots.  And before long, the plant is three feet tall and sending out huge folded buds that unfurl into beautiful white trumpets the size of large saucers.

Moonflower (Datura)

Oddly, the plant I bought this spring is still small.  The tiny wrinkled leaf that emerged after I plunked that other plant into its space is at least twice the size.  This means the crushed limestone path is in double trouble.  The moonflowers are planted in a large island with a limestone path on each side.  I suppose I could trim the things back.  A prim and proper gardener would tame that plant.  Sigh.

And moonflowers are fragrant.  So, between the phlox, the purple petunias, the Fragrant Angel Coneflowers and the moonflowers, my garden bears its sweetest scents after the sun goes down.

The Unruly Moonflower

I really noticed the petunias this evening.  They suddenly filled in.  I wish the red petunias that I planted in front of the boxwood in the front yard would fill in like that.  This is the last year I will plant them.  I love the red, but they just don’t look the way I want them to.  I’m going back to marigolds.

I do love the purple petunias for their scent and for that wonderful velvety texture.

This picture makes them look bluer than they really are.  This clump sits in front of two Blue Knight Caryopteris.  You’d think I’d learn not to go overboard with the caryopteris.  They love my gravely soil and will crowd out the Annabelle Hydrangea.  I will need to remedy that situation next spring.


Sadly, the day lilies are fading.  I have lots of stalks to cut.  Strawberry Candy has completely finished.  The deep red day lily has a few buds left, but a number of stalks are finished.  First Knight is still going strong, as is Storm of the Century.  I’ve decided to transplant Lavender Doll.  The flowers are too small.  I need something that can hold its own with the Tardiva Hydrangea–something as strong as the deep red lily below.

Deep Red Day Lily with Tardiva

6 thoughts on “Over the Moon for Moonflowers

  1. Dear Nancy, Like you, I do favour Datura for their long flowering period and for that sophisticated look which they give to their surroundings. Some years ago when JN was the British Ambassador to Hungary, I persuaded him to install large containers of white Datura on the terraces of the private residence in Budapest. Although I say it myself, they really thrived in the Mediterranean climate and were an outstanding success so much so that the Egyptian embassy copied!!

    • Aaron, yes, they do look like petunias, except they are much larger. They also look a lot like a morning glory. In fact, there is a “moonvine” that blooms at night and at first that’s what I thought my neighbor had given me. But Datura isn’t a vine and the blooms are much, much larger.

  2. Your datura is beautiful. My moonflower is blooming now, but mine is ipomoea alba. The blooms look much the same, but the the ipomoea is a vine and the leaves are different. It just started blooming last week (for pictures see my blog at http://ginnysgarden.blogspot.com) and I read that it’s a late bloomer where I live because of it’s tropical origin. It likes a short day, and waits until the daylight hours have shortened back to 12 before blooming.

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