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California Native Plant PR

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Nothing Glorious About It

Why did they name it Morning Glory? This plant is a nuisance and should be outlawed. It has taken over the neighborhood and I fear my battle with it will be everlasting. It should be called Endless Pain in the Neck!

To be specific, I am referring to plants from the Ipomoea genus. In my estimation, they are pernicious weeds. And, unfortunately, they span numerous backyards in Los Feliz showing no signs of stopping.

The sight that really puts me over the edge is it being copiously watered on a regular basis. My mind reels thinking that someone actually believes it needs help in its mission to grow everywhere or that our precious water supply should be mindlessly wasted for something so undeserving as this plant.

True, it has qualities that a novice gardener goes for: pretty blue flowers, fast-growing (ugh, I cringe when people say they want something "fast-growing."), evergreen, low-maintenance, and easy to find (THAT is the real problem).

But really, can it be that people are in such a hurry that they're willing to plant anything just to get some color or coverage for an ugly fence? I guess so. I see the evil stuff everywhere.

During a visit to OSH a while back, I managed to convince a group of people toting around one of these vixens (most likely Ipomoea indica) to forgo it for something much less aggressive. I felt good about my accomplishment but disappointed at the same time because I realized how easily people will purchase Morning Glory if no one is around to talk them out of it.

I'm not joking when I say that I'd like to see it banned. In some states, it is illegal to sell Ivy. I see no reason why we can't do the same for Morning Glory here in California (and Ivy too, while we're at it . . . and Vinca, and Lantana and other invasive non-natives). If anyone has suggestions on how I can get this ball rolling, please let me know. It will be a great day when you can't find the stuff anywhere.

There are so many excellent alternatives out there. The native honeysuckle vines, such as Lonicera interrupta, Lonicera hispidula (beautiful hot pink flowers) and Lonicera denudata are good options. Even Calystegia macrostegia, our native Morning Glory would be acceptable. This guy is a lot kinder and more tolerant of other plants than the interloper who shares its common name.

For the home gardener looking to plant a vine, all it takes is a little research to find one that will play nicely with other plants. In the meantime, we have to fight the good fight and eradicate this stuff from our landscapes. I just hope someone is out there reading . . .

3 Comments:

  • Awwww! I've always loved morning glory! People in the midwest really adore it. I actually bought some years back to grow out of a pot on my balcony but it died... so there are instances where it doesn't thrive. Out of a huge pot for one! I think also direct sunlight may have been a factor or aphids, I had horrible problems with those.

    Anyway, I'd love to find a friendly vine that can grow on my balcony, so please any information would be very valued.

    I also would love to know which flowers thrive in direct afternoon sunlight, besides geraniums, which I sort of like but hate the smell of.

    Thanks & keep up the great work!

    :)

    By Blogger Helen Wheels, at 11:54 AM  

  • Morning Glory in its own climate (tropical and sub-tropical regions) is just fine. Keep it out of California, is all I'm saying.

    As for a vine that can take direct sun in the afternoon, try Lathyrus splendens, Galvezia speciosa, Clematis lasiantha or Calystegia pupurata.

    It may take some work to find these plants. Theodore Payne Foundation is a good start. Their link is on the side of this blog. Good luck!!

    By Blogger monkeyflower, at 12:02 PM  

  • For flowering native plants that thrive in afternoon sun, check out Sunset Nursery in Silver Lake. They have a nice assortment in the back section.

    Another great resource for researching the kind of plant right for your conditions is the Sunset Western Garden Book. Sunset Nursery has a reference copy you can look at and I'm sure the library has a copy.

    There are so many options that I simply can't name them all. With a little digging, you'll find the perfect plant.

    Also look at the Las Pilitas Nursery website. It is extremely comprehensive and choc full of great info: http://www.laspilitas.com/plants/plants.htm

    By Blogger monkeyflower, at 12:16 PM  

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