Convolvulus plants represent a genus of flowering plants commonly called bindweed or morning glory. Some 200 species of these climbing vines make up the Convolvulus family. They grow mostly wild, but some are cultivated. Many gardeners consider them to be problem weeds. Convolvulus species do produce lovely blue, violet, purple or yellow flowers and attract butterflies, but to be fair, they do have a tendency to climb fences, and can quickly overwhelm formal plantings.
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Bindweed varieties like field bindweed and Texas bindweed grow white to pale pink funnel-shaped flowers on thin fuzzy vines. Hardy perennials, bindweed varieties grow wild, blossoming in midsummer for about eight weeks. They produce small seeds that provide food for birds as well as propagate the plant. Most bindweed varieties are perennials.
Cultivated Convolvulus vines may be either annuals or perennials depending on the species. They are used by gardeners for covering banks and fences. The twining types work well for covering banks, fences and trellises or in greenhouses, window gardens and summer container gardens. Whether cultivated or wild, most perennial varieties of Convolvulus flower throughout the summer months. The exceptions are those that propagate by growing extensive underground root systems. These may blossom from midsummer to early autumn.
With large trumpet-shaped morning glory-like flowers, bush varieties grow large 3-inch blooms in shades of red, white, blue, rose and other vivid colours. The bush type Convolvulus grow about 14 inches tall and a foot across. Varieties of dwarf morning glories are annuals that must be replanted annually, usually indoors and early in the spring. Annual varieties of Convolvulus flower from midsummer to late autumn.
Convolvulus perennials can grow from seeds sprouted indoors in peat pots or planted outdoors after the last frost. They also grow from cuttings of young shoots or by spreading roots underground and pushing up stems. Another method is by division, where the gardener separates the clusters of shoots and stems at the base of a fully mature plant and replanting them. Annual varieties must be regrown each year from seeds, usually propagated indoors, early in the spring in order to get a full season of blossoms. Convolvulus prefer full sun and some varieties only bloom in direct sunlight.
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