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Ipomoea alba - L.

Common Name Moonflower, Tropical white morning-glory
Family Convolvulaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet forests, watercourses and disturbed areas in China[266].
Range Pantropical.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Ipomoea alba Moonflower, Tropical white morning-glory

Ipomoea alba Moonflower, Tropical white morning-glory


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Ipomoea alba is an evergreen Perennial Climber growing to 10 m (32ft 10in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Calonyction aculeatum. C. album.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses:

Young leaves and fleshy calyces - cooked. Steamed and eaten as a vegetable or used in curries, soups, stews etc[183]. They can also be dried for later use[183]. Seed - eaten when young[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The whole herb is used in treating snakebite[266].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a fertile well-drained loam in a warm sunny position[200]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[200]. Another report says that plants need a minimum temperature of 5°c if they are to overwinter successfully[260]. A short-lived perennial or biennial species[187]. A fast-growing climbing plant, it is best grown as a temporary screen in the garden or along the boundary edge[200]. Plants need a long period of growth to reach flowering size and so are not very suitable for growing in pots in a greenhouse[260]. A climbing plant, supporting itself by twining around the branches of other plants[219]. The plant forms tubercles (baby tubers) on the stems and can be propagated by them[260]. The aromatic flowers open of a night time[188].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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Plant Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water, or scarify the seed, and sow in individual pots in a greenhouse in early spring. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 weeks at 22°c. Plants are extremely resentful of root disturbance, even when they are quite small, and should be potted up almost as soon as they germinate[219]. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of side shoots in a peaty soil. Layering. Plants form tubercles on their stems[260]. These can be stored overwinter in a slightly moist medium such as sand or leafmould, keeping them in a cool but frost-free place. Pot them up in early spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Ipomoea aquaticaKangkong, Swamp Morning GloryAnnual/Perennial0.5 10-12 FLMHNMWeWa422
Ipomoea batatasSweet Potato, Black Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato VinePerennial Climber3.0 10-12 FLMNM503
Ipomoea jalapaJalapClimber3.0 -  LMHSNM03 
Ipomoea leptophyllaBush Moon FlowerPerennial1.2 8-11  LMHNM321
Ipomoea nilJapanese Morning Glory, Whiteedge morning-gloryAnnual5.0 8-11 FLMHNM02 
Ipomoea pandurataWild Potato Vine, Man of the earthPerennial Climber3.5 6-9 FLMHNM322
Ipomoea purpureaCommon Morning Glory, Tall morning-gloryAnnual Climber2.5 6-9 FLMHNM020
Ipomoea sagittataSaltmarsh Morning Glory, Saltmarsh morning-glory 0.0 0-0  LMHSNM01 
Ipomoea tricolorMorning Glory, GrannyvinePerennial Climber5.0 10-11 FLMHNM01 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Nancy Formoso   Mon Mar 7 15:20:35 2005

I am looking for the plant form of this plant Imean not a vine I had them at our former residence it was like a bush around 15 inches high ,also when the flower finally closed made a round seed pod with it looked like thorns. I can find moonflower vines but haven't found the plants, like you could buy marigolds, salvia, etc.This has such a wonderful fragrance to the flowers its beautiful. Thank You and have a great day, Nanci

C.K.Fredericks   Wed Jun 15 12:06:29 2005

This was what I was looking for. You were the only site I could find with all the info I needed. Thank You very much. C.K.Fredericks

gill   Thu Aug 10 2006

could you please tell me what the bush form of ipomoea alba is called and could we grow it in the uk. many thanks

Adrien Willcocks   Sat May 5 2007

I am growing moonflowers again and find they have to be treated as a greenhouse annual.Your cultivation details seem to be referring to two different varieties. If anyone has a bush variety I would like details please.

c clark   Thu Jun 21 2007

we have had the same problem with the identification of this plant also my mother aunt and i love these flowers and have several plants that we have had for years that have the thorny buds that the seeds fall out of to reproduce many small plants every year but the main plant come back every year as a bush but seems to get larger every year please let us know the name if you find out. only opens at night no vine just bush and always very large white flower

Leslie   Mon Jun 23 2008

For two years I've been trying to find the name of this vine I got as a present and that has grown so fast.......Thanks in my country is very rare and now is getting to be known . The only difference is that in winter due to the cold temperatures it looses the leaves.As soon as the temperatures go up, it comes alive . Thanks again Leslie Füssel

Melinda   Wed Jan 28 2009

The bush form of Ipomoea Alba is Ipomoea Leptophylla. I was not able to get much information in the quick search I did. However I imagine it is a lot like the vine species. Try searching the name.

USDA United States Department Of Agriculture

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