Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bush Morning Gloriousness

Is this not Glorious? Photo: George & Audry Delange

This month has been so busy, lots of Garden shows and activities. I almost didn’t make my plant of the month post. For March it has to be Convolvulus cneorum or Bush Morning Glory. They are blooming gloriously right now.

Clients always ask me about them in March. “What are those beautiful plants with all the white flowers”? I want to say, “Ask me again in a month”. But they won’t because the poor little Bush Morning Glory will be only a memory. It only flowers for about a month and turns into a humble little silvery ground cover in short order.

Then there is the issue of rabbits. Rabbits love Convolvulus and they love new Convolvulus the best. They will hop right by everything else in your yard. That’s not to say they won’t eat anything else, they just won’t miss your Bush Morning Glory. So as spring brings flowers to Bush Morning Glory and retail nurseries sell lots of them, the waskley wabbits get fed and the circle of life continues. Chicken wire and Blood Meal helps if you aren’t into the circle of life thing.

On the good side of the ledger for Convolvulus cneorum; It is definitely a low water use plant, and it loves full sun all day. It is a native to the Mediterranean, Sicily, Croatia, and North Africa and it thrives in dry, sandy, well-drained alkaline soil. Butterflys enjoy Bush Morning Glory. It will grow moderately to about 4’ wide and 2’ – 2 1/2’ tall with very little drop or litter.

Designers like Bush Morning Glory not for the flowers, but for the silvery foliage that it displays the other 48 weeks of the year. Plant BMG near anything purple like Leucophyllum, Reullia, or Lantana. It looks good under any of the darker Bougainvillea including the Torch Glow or other red-ish plants like Callistemon x 'Little John'. The silvery leaves and texture go very will with Olive trees and Sophora Secundiflora. It looks absolutely stunning as a short hedge under an Olive for a manicured Tuscan look, just make sure you place it out about 3’ – 4’ out from the trunk. Again in a Tuscan Garden, mix it with Myrtle of other greens for a dramatic silver accent. Try it in a Moon garden. The silvery leaves, not to mention the white flowers during March, make it a great choice. I'll be starting a Moon Garden design next week and BMG will definitely be included. By itself, you might want to consider massing to bring it into prominence.
It's a great little plant that doesn't get placed correctly very often so it usually goes unnoticed till late February and March.


  1. Bill,
    Would it be possible to grow this convolvulus as an annual or perhaps as a potted tropical? It really is stunning. Lots of good reading on your site. We've been very wasteful with our water here on the north side of Lake Ontario and have much to learn from folks like you who've really had to learn how to garden with very little water. Welcome to Blotanical!

  2. Hello Barbara,
    I'm always curious about things like that. I looked over a French Landscape Designer's Portfolio and was very excited to recognize many of he plants. Then of course I realized they shared the same climate basically as San Diego.

    To answer your question, I really have no idea. I think a green house would be very helpful as I doubt it would survive your winter otherwise. I believe BMG is only cold hardy to 15 - 18 degrees.

    As far as water in concerned, we're pretty much in denial here, too. I think we are so conditioned to think in terms of cost = value, that since water is still very cheap there must be plenty of it. Few of us are feeling the urgency yet.

  3. I've seen these in the nursery looking good, but I've never actually bought and planted them. Apparently, I will have to eventually...

  4. I love the way the leaves shimmer in the breeze. Definitely a great plant.

    I'll keep the rabbits in mind.

    To Barbara - I've got pots of this in (outside=bright) shade all winter and they do fine. I think if you experiment with it as a potted indoor/outdoor plant you might have some success. Just let it really dry out between waterings, and when wintering it indoors put it in the brightest window you have. You can keep it pretty small in a pot, and it takes pruning and shearing well. Worth a try.

  5. Here in the UK we had a rabbit problem a couple of years ago and I used a garlic drench as a harmless deterrent sloshed over vulnerable plants. It seemed to work! My green grocer was happy to let me have the slightly mushy garlic bulbs for nothing, as they would have been wasted otherwise.

  6. Thanks for the garlic idea, Phoenix. Maybe it will work with the neighborhood cats, too!

    BTW, I love your blog, your pictures, and your paintings. You “flaming” prunus is almost painful.