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Mystery plants: moon vine, flowering tobacco and turks cap

by Janet Carson | August 23, 2021 at 6:10 a.m.

Ipomoea alba or Moon flower morning glory was the first mystery plant this week. When you hear moon flower, there are two plants with that common name –moon vine– Ipomoea alba;

and moon bush, or Angels’ trumpet—Datura inoxia.

The morning glory moon vine, Ipomoea, is a summer annual. This vining plant produces six-inch pure white trumpet shaped flowers that unfurl in slow motion every night just at sunset. While each flower only lasts a day–or should we say, evening, they remain fragrant well into the evening. As with most morning glories, it is a prolific vine but it is not invasive, nor does it freely reseed likes its more common family members, so be sure to save some seeds for next season. The Datura, or bush moon plant has six inch or larger white trumpet shaped flowers

that open at night and remain open well into the following day, until the sun hits them. This plant is a perennial almost statewide. It can also come up from seed. Again, each flower only lasts a day, but each bloom will form a bristly round seed pod. Both of these plants are summer bloomers, and won’t kick in and grow until the soil has warmed up. Give both plants a minimum of six hours of sunlight a day, and they can bloom all summer long, once they start.

Nicotiana alata – flowering tobacco

– is an annual flowering plant in the nightshade family. Flower colors range from white and green,

to pinks, reds and some bi-colors.

It flowers all season in full sun. Most varieties commonly in the trade are compact with a mature height of 2-3 feet.

Malvaviscus arboreus- Turk's Turban or Turk's Cap

are both common names for this perennial member of the hibiscus family. The plant begins to bloom in mid-summer through fall.

The deep orange flowers are swirled petals that never open, but produce long, protruding stamens. It is an old fashioned, "pass-along" plant, which is a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds. This plant is also considered deer resistant.

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