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Ipomoea alba flower Ipomoea alba
Moonflower Vine
Hundreds of years before the Europeans developed rubber, the Aztecs mixed the juice of moonflower with tree latex to produce an elastic they made into rubber bands, hammers, and balls for a ritual game. A relative of the morning glory, moonflowert has its cousin's heart-shaped leaves and vining habit, but instead of greeting the Sun, like the morning glory does, the flowers of this Moon plant open in late afternoon and stay open for one night, which makes them wonderful in Moon gardens. They are pollinated by moths drawn to their scent, which humans can smell too, if they have the genes for it (not everyone can perceive the scent of some white flowers).  The presence of moths in turn can attract bats, Hekate's friends. Try inhaling the scent of moonflowers before doing divination or before going to bed in order to produce prophetic dreams.

A climbing annual or tender perennial and a vigorous grower in hot weather, moonflower vines can get about 10 feet long up north but will get 30 feet long in hot areas.  Flowers are about 5 inches across and are fun to watch open--they take about two minutes.  After one day, they shrivel and begin to turn into seed pods. Harvest the seeds when the husk turns dry and black. This plant can be grown indoors in a very sunny window.   Top

How to grow Moonflower: Seeds germinate better if they are nicked.  File off a small circle of the seedcoat on the end that is smooth.  You can use a nail file. Then soak them in warm water overnight.  I have had good luck germinating them by putting them in a paper towel towel that has been wet and then wrung out. Spread the seeds out, carefully fold over the paper towel, and put in a plastic bag. Put in a relatively warm place, and the seeds will germinate.  You will also see which ones are live this way and not plant ones that are duds.  Grow seedlings in warm soil (this is a tropical plant).  It needs a trellis or fence to cling to, or you can grow it in a hanging container.  Down south, this plant can really spread.  I have seen it almost completely covering mangroves.  It likes full sun, especially up north, and good soil mixed with sand.  Soil that is too rich means lots of leaves and few flowers.  It blooms in 12 weeks. General growing info. Top

 

Ipomoea alba
Moonflower Vine
10 seeds $3.50



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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Divination
Dreamwork
Moon Herb

Moon Garden Collection

2007, 2013 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission