Evening glow with moon vine

Creamy-white flowers swirl open as the sun sets, just as morning glory blooms awaken with the new day's sunshine. Moon vine (Calonyction aculeatum) is a close cousin of the morning glory. The name fits the plant perfectly, for moon vine looks as if someone hung the moon (or several moons) on the big, leafy vine. Flowers perfume the air at night and smell delightful, making it a good choice for outdoor living areas used at night in the summer. Also called moon flower, the plants are available at many garden shops.

Seeds are planted outdoors from the last hard freeze to mid-July. Plants from garden centers begin flowering in late May. The plants prefer full sun and rich soil. If grown from seed, use a file to nick the hard kernels. Then soak seed overnight before planting about one-half inch deep. After germination, feed occasionally with a water-soluble fertilizer. Vines usually clamber up a trellis or arbor without help, but need twine or other support on lampposts or columns. Each bloom lasts for just one night, but at least one take its place the following evening. Seedpods can be collected from spent flowers for planting next season, or you can let pods fall to the ground. Their seed will germinate next year.

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