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My Lovely Weed and Other Summer Flowers

I have fallen in love with an invasive weed. It was an impulse buy. Only after I had paid money for it and then proudly planted it in my garden did I discover its classification, at least in neighboring Florida, where its cultivation is prohibited. This doesn't apply to my own state of Alabama. Yet. The offending flower is Bush Morning-Glory, Ipomoea fistulosa. It is more likely to become invasive in wet sites, which it prefers, though it will grow and behave itself in well drained situations. It is a native in tropical America and is reported in a number of southern US states, as well as in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. 

The bush morning glory looks similar to the morning glory vine, with pink to purple flowers opening only in the morning, but there are important differences. The bush has a thick stalk which can grow seven to eight feet tall. It has beautiful heart shaped leaves on sparse branches and funnel shaped flowers, which are three to four inches across. In Brazil the hollow stems are used for making pipes. Whereas the vine is an annual, here the bush morning glory is hardy and will return each year.

I will watch my bush morning glory closely. I don't think it will be a problem for me, though with all the rain we have had lately, I wonder!

Meanwhile, I am enjoying some other summer flowers. In semi-shady areas assorted hydrangeas continue to bloom:

Here is a combination of white impatiens and colorful caladiums, also growing in a partially shaded site:

Monarda and Veronica bloom in sites that receive morning sun and some afternoon shade:

While much of our property is shaded, we do have some areas that receive full sun. Flowers in these areas are heat lovers that can take our sultry conditions. Below in both upper and lower photos are Tropicana Canna Lily, on the left, and Pavonia Hastata, on the right. These are reliable beauties in my hot summer climate.

This is my first year to grow tropical hibiscus. It will not be my last!

Many summer flowers are commoners seen at every garden outlet. I am not a plant snob. Toughness and survival count for me. I love marigolds!

Finally, I don't always depend on plants for color. This is my flower bug. Call it whimsical, gaudy, cute, whatever.Bring on the heat!


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Reader Comments (21)

Your garden is looking very 'hot' and tropical with all those fab blooms and foliage! I do wonder how Ipomoea fistulosa would do planted here. It's a very nice looking plant so worth a ponder...

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

I am envious of the colour of your Monarda; is it a named variety or did it just come from a pack of seeds, it’s gorgeous! I also like the ‘weed’. But only you can know if it will become invasive in your area, I hope not. You always say that Nandina are considered invasive in your State, here I’ve never seen a seedling grow any bigger than the first few leaves, and it grows slowly – a really sought after shrub!

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Please send us some of your rain, my plants and I are wilting in all the heat that we have had for the last month! Your morning glory bush looks delightful and very unusual, I've only met the climber before.

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

Your 'weed' is quite lovely. I've never heard of a Morning Glory bush before. I do hope it behaves itself for you. Love your gorgeous Hydrangeas. They're not something I can grow here, but I recognise a few other plants that definitely do grow well here.

I also have a beautiful white Impatiens, and it's a favourite of mine. I also see you're growing Crossandra and Portulaca, which are also particular favourites of mine. Lovely Hibiscus too!

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBernieh

Lots of great blooms! I had never heard of bush morning glory. I am growing the morning glory vine 'Heavenly Blue' this year, but the cold spring has given it a very slow start.

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

hi deb, I'm not a plant snob either, like you it's about toughness and survival. It's also about fitting in with the overall picture. I love the combination of flowers in the collage - the pinks, yellow, orange and white. cheers, cat

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercatmint

Hi Deb
There are some lovely weeds around and your morning glory bush is one of them. Also loved the different colours of hydrangea and well as all the other flowers. Caladium and impatiens are beautiful together. For years i have paired Caladium with white or pink rex begonias - also a great combination.

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

I know you love heat...here I don't especially when it is so humid and wet...oh well we take what we are given. Love seeing your flowers...

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

I agree: It's summertime, so it's supposed to be hot! Looking forward to a day at the beach! Love the Hibiscus and the Pavonia! And you have a lovely collection of Hydrangeas! Wow!

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

I'm always happy that Ipomoea is not cold hardy where I am and can only be grown as an annual (and the seeds don't survive the winter here so they can't self-sow), which means that I can enjoy the lovely flowers without feeling guilty. The problem of invasives is not what they do in our gardens but their propensity to escape from our gardens to areas with conditions conducive to their growth where they'll wreak havoc. Do you know how these seeds spread (e.g., do they drop near the parent plant, are they spread by birds, or dispersed by the wind?) If the seeds can be carried beyond your garden (and its not-so-conducive to spread) conditions, the logical solution might be to faithfully deadhead so that the flowers don't get a chance to make seed.

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJean

I am intrigued by your Pavonia Hastata - I've never even heard of this one! The flowers look like a smaller version of the perennial hibiscus Crown Jewels I have growing in my garden. I wonder how they'd look together...

Hi, everyone! Thanks for all your comments! Each one is important to me. Jean, you asked about means of dispersal. From what I have read, cultivated plants rarely spread by seeds. They mainly form thick clumps through means of underground suckers and layering of stems that touch the ground. This is a problem, as I said, primarily in wetlands. Deb

July 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Miss Deb, how I love "visiting" your garden. Enjoying the colors in this post! Wanted to ask if you've ever done a post that had a drawing (or some sort of overview) of your entire gardens. I'd love to have a better idea of how everthing relates to each other. Thanks for sharing your beautiful gardens! xo

That is a beautiful weed I also have plants in my garden that are considered weeds in other parts of the world. As long as you keep an eye on them, they should be fine, I think.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

I love your beautiful weed, a weed is only a plant in the wrong place so if your garden is the right place it's not a weed, I love the foliage of your caladium and canna, lots of beautiful flowers too, enjoy your warm watered garden Deb, Frances

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsland Threads

You are growing lots of pretties. Mama would describe the weather we're having now as 'sultry' with four syllables.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternell jean

Why is it always the pretty ones that are the naughty spreaders? Love the colors you have today...

And hey, your bugs can eat my bugs anyday...lol.


Your morning glory is beautiful. It reminds me of a petunia or ruellia.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

What a treat to see all your beautiful blooms, Deb. Love the morning glory. Never knew there was a bush variety. I would buy that, too!

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

Your flowers look gorgeous and the blue hydrangeas actually look like they're growing in a heart shape. I can't wait to see how your garden continues to bloom - I'm sure teh flower bug will have a helping hand :D

I planted two barberry bushes a few years before I saw them on the invasive list for Ohio. Oops! I didn't remove them either, they suit the spot they are in. I don't believe I am a plant snob either, I enjoy Moonshine yarrow that my friend calls a weed! Here, morning glories are most definitely annuals, so we are safe to grow them.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL
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