Splendid foliage and gorgeous flowers make the Morning Glory a popular garden plant
Morning Glory: A climber that enjoys sun and moist soil
ISSAC KEHIMKAR, in his book Common Indian Wild Flowers, describes 240 flowers, of which 17 are a `glory'.
Red Star Glory, Blue Dawn Glory, Railway Glory, Silk Elephant Glory, Tiger Paw Glory... the list continues. However, a widely seen climber, the Purple Glory has escaped his compendium.
Ipomea purpurea, commonly referred to as Morning Glory, is an Indian climbing shrub, running wild in sunny, sheltered, moist localities, where the flowers bloom unseen and unnoticed. The plant is an annual and has been introduced in gardens maintained by government houses and the Indian Railways, for its splendid foliage and gorgeous flowers. The solitary solferino flowers are striking.
To help sunshine fall on the faces of the flowers, they should be raised on supporting large tall trellis frames. The bright lavender-lilac hued flowers bloom profusely above the thick layers of the leaves of the plant, which multiply and grow with alarming rapidity.
The three to five inch long leaves have a smooth margin and are ovate cordate in shape with short acuminate tips. We would fail to appreciate the beauty of the leaves because of the abundant amethystine flowers on their axils.
Come the rains, there is a fresh profusion of flowers on deflexed pedicles. The fruits follow in a month. The persistent calyx lobes extend to cover the fruits protectively. Watch the bud and you will notice they are twisted to the right.
The folding of corolla in the bud, obvious when they open out, is a characteristic feature.
Horticulture books advise to file a small notch on the seeds to help quick germination. Overnight soaking of seeds in warm water, draining and shade drying the following day and planting in the afternoon in the already worked soil is all that you need to do for a year round blessing of plentiful purple flowers.
Vegetative propagation by cutting, layering or division of roots is also successful.
J. MANGALARAJ JOHNSON
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