How to Grow and Care for Dwarf Morning Glory

Blue Dwarf Morning Glory

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Dwarf morning glory (Evolvulus glomeratus), also known as blue daze, is a unique plant that produces true-blue blooms, one of the rarest colors among blooming plants, over a mat of fuzzy, silvery-green oval-shaped leaves. It's a sturdy perennial subshrub in warmer climates, but in cooler regions, it is grown as an annual and must be replanted every year. These plants bloom from late spring until the first frost and will attract plenty of bees and butterflies, which love the nectar-rich blooms. A member of the morning glory family, the blooms of this Brazilian native will typically close up on cloudy days, at the end of the day, and in the hot afternoon sun. But unlike morning glory, this is not a climber, but a low, mounding plant sometimes grown as a ground cover.

Dwarf morning glory is usually planted from potted nursery starts in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. They are fast-growing plants that will reach flowering maturity within a few weeks.

Common Name Dwarf morning glory, blue daze, Brazilian dwarf morning glory, evolvulus
Botanical Name Evolvulus glomeratus
Family Convolvulaceae
Plant Type Perennial, annual
Mature Size 9–24 in. tall, 2–3 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Moist, well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time Summer, fall
Flower Color Blue
Hardiness Zones 9-11 (USDA)
Native Area South America

Dwarf Morning Glory Care

Dwarf morning glory is fairly easy to grow if given well-draining soil and a location that gets at least six to eight hours of direct sun. It is considered to be a fairly low-maintenance and self-cleaning plant, so there's no need to remove spent blooms, but it can help to pinch back stems when the plant is young to force it into a bushier growth habit. It thrives in the heat of summer and is fairly drought-tolerant once it has been established with consistent watering.

As the growing season progresses, dwarf morning glory can begin to look a bit ragged with reduced blooms. At that point, you can trim back the plant to tidy it up and encourage new bushy growth. Dwarf morning glory has no serious pest or disease problems.

Light

Plant dwarf morning glory in full sun, six to eight hours per day, which will encourage continuous flowering throughout the season. Sunlight will also help these plants maintain their compact shape and lush foliage. If dwarf morning glory is planted in too much shade, it can become leggy, sprawl, produce fewer blooms, and lose the silvery sheen on its foliage.

Soil

This plant performs best in average, loamy, well-drained soil, whether it's planted in a garden bed or grown in a container. It prefers slightly acidic soil pH but tolerates neutral soil.

Water

Dwarf morning glory does best when it receives consistent, even moisture but it does not like to sit in soggy soil. In good well-draining soil, about 1/2 to 1 inch of water per week (rainfall and/or irrigation) will cause it to thrive, but in denser soils, this might be too much water.

Once it is established, this plant has good tolerance for drought conditions, which makes it a great option for neglected areas of your garden or in containers that might not receive adequate water. One of the quickest ways to kill dwarf morning glory is to overwater it, which can cause root rot.

Temperature and Humidity

These plants are happiest and flower best in temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and they thrive in the heat of summer. It cannot tolerate even mild frost. It has no preference for humidity levels.

Fertilizer

Feed dwarf morning glory on a monthly basis in spring and summer. Use a general-purpose liquid fertilizer and apply it according to label instructions. In warm climates where it is reliably hardy as a perennial, don't feed in winter.

Types of Dwarf Morning Glory

There are only three cultivars of E. glomeratus commonly sold:

  • 'Blue Daze' grows to about 18 inches tall and up to 3 feet wide, It has exceptionally brilliant blue flowers, about 1/2 inch wide, that bloom from late spring into fall. This is by far the most popular variety in garden use.
  • 'Blue My Mind' has slightly larger flowers than the species. It grows 12 inches tall, and up to 24 inches wide. It is a good choice for very hot conditions and full sun.
  • 'Hawaiian Blue Eyes' has 1-inch blue blooms with silvery-green leaves.

Pruning

Dwarf morning glory can be pinched back when young to force bushier, fuller growth. And late in the season as stems become somewhat scraggly, a hard pruning can stimulate new growth and make plants more attractive going into fall.

No deadheading of spent flowers is necessary, as these plants are self-cleaning; spent blooms fall off on their own.

Propagating Dwarf Morning Glory

These plants will reliably propagate from both seeds and stem cuttings, but rooting stem cuttings is the more reliable method of achieving plants that are identical to parent plants. Best done in summer to start plants for outdoor planting the following spring, the method for rooting stem cuttings is a common one:

  1. Using sharp pruners, cut 3- to 5-inch tips from healthy stems. Remove the leaves from the bottom one-third of each cutting, and remove flowers and flower buds.
  2. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, then plant it in a small container filled with a commercial seed starter mix, or a porous mixture of sand plus peat moss or potting mix.
  3. Cover the pot with a loosely secured plastic bag, and place the pot in a location with bright indirect light (not direct sunlight)
  4. Keep the potting medium moist until roots develop (you will feel resistance when gently tugging on the cutting stem. At this point, transplant the cutting into a pot filled with standard potting mix.
  5. Continue growing the cutting indoors through the winter (or in a sheltered outdoor location, if you live in a region that does not freeze in the winter). In the spring, transplant the actively growing plant into the landscape.

How to Grow Dwarf Morning Glory From Seed

Whether collected from your own plants or purchased, dwarf morning glory seeds can be started indoors eight to ten weeks before the average last frost date in your area. Plant the seeds in pots filled with a seed starter mix, or a mixture of sand and standard potting mix, covering them with 1/4-inch of potting medium. Keep the potting medium moist and set the pot in a sunny indoor location at a temperature of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cover the pot or tray with plastic, make sure to uncover it for at least 20 minutes each day to allow fresh air, which will prevent fungal infection. Once the plants have developed several sets of true leaves, they can be carefully transplanted into individual pots filled with standard potting mix and grown on for planting outdoors once all danger of frost has passed.

Potting and Repotting Dwarf Morning Glory

Dwarf morning glory can be grown in any well-drained pot filled with lightweight, well-draining potting mix. Pots can be any material, but lightweight plastic is a good choice for hanging baskets. In warm climates, potted plants can survive outdoors year-round; in colder climates, bring them indoors to overwinter as houseplants. This perennial plant may continue to bloom all winter long if placed in a sunny window and watered regularly.

Repotting should be done whenever the plant becomes root-bound. However, this plant is not a good permanent container plant, as the stems will become woody with sparse flowers. Further, it is a rather short-lived perennial. Thus, dwarf morning glory in a pot is usually discarded after a couple of years when it becomes sparse, often after stem cuttings are rooted to propagate new plants.

Overwintering

Where grown as an annual, plants should be pulled out and discarded at the end of the growing season to prevent self-seeding, which can be prolific. In warmer zones where it is grown as a perennial, cut back stems and reduce watering and feeding during the winter months.

How to Get Dwarf Morning Glory to Bloom

Dwarf morning glory normally begins blooming in late spring, continuing right up until it is killed by cold in the late fall or winter. The small flowers bloom for only a day but are immediately replaced by new blossoms.

Lots of sun, regular water, and monthly feeding are the only requirements for prolific blossoms.

Common Problems with Dwarf Morning Glory

The only notable problem with dwarf morning glory occurs if it is planted in dense, poorly draining soil or gets too much water. Under these circumstances, the plants will do poorly and may collapse from root rot.

FAQ
  • How is this plant best used in the landscape?

    When planted in a sunny spot, this low-growing, spreading plant will create a sea of ocean-blue flowers atop green foliage with hints of a silvery sheen. This plant will flourish when planted in a garden bed as a low-growing ground cover plant as well as cascading in a container or over retaining walls.

  • How long does dwarf morning glory live?

    In warm-winter regions where it can be grown as a perennial, dwarf morning glory is still a relatively short-lived plant. And as stems become woody with age, flowering is reduced. Thus, most gardeners growing this plant as a perennial will replace it every three or four years.

  • Are there other species of Evolvulus to consider as garden plants?

    Yes. Evolvulus arizonicus (Arizona blue eyes) is a 1-foot-tall mounding plant that is excellent for low-moisture gardens. It is hardy in zones 7 to 10. And Evolvulus nuttallianus (shaggy morning glory) thrives in moist soil and is hardy in zones 4 to 10.

Article Sources
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  1. Evolvulus glomeratus. North Carolina State Extension.

  2. Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings. North Carolina State Extension.

  3. Claussen, Ruth Rogers nd Christoher,Thomas. Essential Perennials. Timber Press, 2014.