Bindweed: a decorative flower in the garden and on the balcony

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Bindweed (Convolvulus) is a genus of the bindweed family (Convolvulaceae), includes more than 250 species of annual and perennial herbs , shrubs , some of which are used as ornamental plants .

  • Family : bindweed.
  • Homeland : Western Mediterranean.
  • Rhizome : creeping with filiform roots.
  • Stem : climbing, creeping or erect.
  • Leaves : alternate, simple, of various shapes depending on the species.
  • Fruit : box.
  • Reproductive capacity : propagated by seeds.
  • Illumination : sun or partial shade.
  • Watering : plentiful.
  • Content temperature : thermophilic, withstand spring frosts.
  • Flowering time : June to October.

Description of the bindweed flower

Most species are climbers with climbing, hairless stems up to 3–4 m long, there are plants with creeping or erect stems. The leaves are alternate, ovate, heart-shaped or arrow-shaped, serrated or entire, located on petioles. Bindweed flowers have a funnel-shaped or bell-shaped corolla, are placed in the axils of the leaves on long peduncles, sometimes collected in inflorescences. Coloring – white, blue, pink, red, there are two-color varieties. The fruit is a box with large seeds that remain viable for up to 2-3 years.

One of the most common species is field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) , a perennial plant with a thin climbing stem up to 1 m long and a creeping branched rhizome, an obvious weed that grows throughout Russia. This plant, like some other types of bindweed, is poisonous, contains psychotropic alkaloids. In folk medicine, it is widely used to treat various diseases. A photo of a field bindweed is shown below.

Sometimes, morning glory purple, a perennial vine originating from the tropical regions of America, which is grown here as an annual, is referred to the genus of bindweeds. According to another classification, it belongs to the genus morning glory (Ipomoea), or farbitis. This is the largest genus of the bindweed family, it includes about 500 species, among which there are food plants, such as sweet potato, as well as many ornamental vines grown as garden and pot crops. Different species differ in the structure of rhizomes, both creeping and tuberous, the shape of the leaf, narrow and long, pinnately dissected or rounded heart-shaped. Common to all representatives of the genus is the structure of the flower – funnel-shaped with a fused corolla and a more or less narrow tube.

Some types of decorative bindweeds

In our country, two garden forms are most often used as decorative bindweeds: tricolor or small bindweed and Moorish bindweed.

Bindweed tricolor or small (Convolvulus tricolor L.) is a shrub with creeping and rising shoots up to 50 cm high, petiolate, slightly pointed leaves. It blooms profusely from June to August with large funnel-shaped pale blue or purple flowers with a white center and a yellow corolla throat. The bindweed flower is short-lived, lasts one day, but new ones are formed instead of it in large numbers. The fruit is a box with two dark brown seeds up to 3 mm in diameter, self-seeding is possible.

Varieties of various colors are available for sale, for example, Roval Ensign with dark blue flowers, Crimson Monarch with crimson flowers, Can Can with dark blue flowers. The compact variety Rainbow Flash grows up to 25 cm, Kan-Kan – up to 35 cm, and Roval Ensign – up to 45 cm.

They are used in discounts , mixborders, planted on balconies and in hanging pots . The plant grows quickly, so it can be used as a ground cover crop.

Moorish or Sabat bindweed (Convolvulus sabatius = C. Mauritanicus) is a semi-shrub with creeping shoots up to 50 cm long, grayish-green leaves and soft lilac or blue-violet flowers. It grows rapidly, can occupy an area of up to 1 m2. Blooms profusely and continuously from June to September. Widely used as an ampelous plant, forming a cascade of flowering shoots, planted in containers, hanging baskets, on balconies. Unpretentious, does not require careful care. Grown as an annual , however, it can survive in the winter in a bright frost-free room.

Below are photos of the tricolor bindweed and Mauritanian bindweed.

These species are not climbing plants; morning glory bindweeds are used as ornamental vines in gardens.

Ipomoea purple (Ipomoea purpurea) grows up to 3 m in height, has heart-shaped three-lobed leaves and large bell-shaped flowers that grow from the leaf axils on long peduncles of 2-3 pieces. The color of the flowers is pink, purple, red, blue, lilac, diameter – up to 6 cm, the corolla is always painted white from the inside. There are terry and variegated forms. It grows rapidly, in a short time it can form a “green carpet” for decorating arbors, pergolas and balconies. Blooms from July to October.

Ipomoea tricolor or red-blue (Ipomoea rubro-caerulea, Ipomoea tricolor) , another common garden vine with thin stems up to 5 m long, fast-growing, with a large number of bright green leaves and large single flowers. The natural color of the flowers is blue, fading, they roll up into a tube and become bluish-lilac-crimson, for which the species was called “Ipomoea tricolor”. The inside of the corolla is painted yellow. Currently bred varieties are pink, blue, purple, reddish-blue. Heavenly Blue, striped blue and white Flying Saucers are popular. Blooms profusely from May to September.

It must be remembered that these decorative bindweeds are poisonous plants, since most types of morning glory contain psychotropic substances.

Growing bindweeds in the garden and on the balcony

Bindweeds cultivated in gardens are unpretentious, can develop on poor soils, prefer a sunny location, but also tolerate light shading. These perennial plants in our climate are grown as annuals. Seeds are sown in late April – early May directly into the ground, or in March for seedlings, which are planted when the threat of frost has passed. For seedlings, it is better to use peat pots, as the plants do not tolerate transplanting.

All species are demanding for watering, with a lack of water, buds are dropped. During the flowering period, they are fed once every 2 weeks, mainly with potash and phosphorus fertilizers, nitrogen causes leaf growth to the detriment of flowering. Supports are installed for vines .

Bindweeds are not afraid of spring frosts, but some types of decorative morning glory are thermophilic; for earlier flowering, they are grown through seedlings. Plants do not overwinter, some species can self-sow.

Ampel and climbing species can be used for landscaping balconies. Bindweeds are planted on balconies and loggias oriented to the south and southeast, in boxes with a sufficient amount of land. Supports are provided for vines, young shoots are tied up. With abundant timely watering and regular feeding, the plants develop rapidly and bloom profusely from June to late autumn.

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