The blossoms of this plant have a delicate beauty that belies the plant’s severe toxicity. Don’t let it grow in yards where children and dogs play.
Moon Lilies have blooms that are white and shaped like trumpets. Their leaves are huge and a dull green colour. The flowers are large, trumpet-shaped, and showy. They measure around 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 cm) in length and have a distinct, flaring shape. These flowers are a creamy white colour and release a pleasant fragrance that becomes more intense in the evening. These plants are toxic.
Don’t let the toxicity put you off or deter you from giving this beautiful plant a place to grow in your garden.
Basic Care for Moon Lilies
Maintenance for Moon Lilies is relatively easy and only requires that plants be fed and watered consistently.
Moon Lilies also seldom have any issues with pests or diseases. Because they tend to climb, it is best to give them a trellis or some other type of support structure that they may wrap their branches around as they develop.
They can also be grown in hanging baskets and pots, in addition to being permitted to spread organically as a ground cover. Plant them where you can appreciate their enticing aromas in the evening, such as next to a deck or bedroom window, if feasible.
Remove the wasted blossoms from the vines in your garden before they have a chance to deposit their seeds if you do not want the plants to reseed themselves. The procedure of removing spent flowers also has the potential to encourage more flowering on the vines.
When growing moon lily as an annual, most gardeners start new plants the following year rather than trying to overwinter existing plants since the vines may be challenging to maintain inside.
Instead of trying to overwinter their plants, they prefer to start new plants the next year.
When planted outside as a perennial throughout the year, the vines can be cut back and shaped in the autumn according to the specific requirements of the plant.
Reduce the number of stems on the plant to increase air circulation around it and expose more of its surface to the sun.
Appearance and Habit
This plant is considered invasive in the very warm parts of the southeast and south-central United States, as well as in Hawaii, and should be planted with caution to prevent it from escaping into natural areas.
In colder places, where the plant cannot survive year after year, such extreme vigilance is not required.
They are similar in appearance to other members of the Datura genus. Their low and spreading form distinguishes them from shrubbier species and makes them inappropriate for smaller gardens due to their height of only two to three feet and width of six to eight feet.
The blooms begin to open at dark and remain open until midday the next day, blooming from the middle of spring until late in the fall. When the petals die off, they are succeeded by spherical fruits covered in prickly spines; these fruits give the plant its other popular name, the thorn apple.
When the leaves, stalks, or blossoms of a moon lily are messed with in any way, it releases a fragrance that can only be described as highly foul. This is one of the plant’s less desirable physical characteristics.
In comparison to other types of indigenous wildflowers, Moon Lilies stand out due to the faint radiance of their blossoms. Native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, these plants are perfect for low-maintenance native landscaping because of their hardiness and attractive appearance.
Full daylight, defined as at least six hours of direct sunshine on most days, is the optimal growing environment for Light Moon lily. It can adjust to settings with some shade, albeit the flowers it produces may not be as abundant.
Moon Lily can endure many different kinds of soil. However, it does best in soil that is fertile and loamy, has enough drainage, and has a pH that ranges from slightly acidic to neutral.
The ideal quantity of soil moisture for the moon lily is in the middle. Young plants need to be watered often so that the soil around them remains damp but not soaked. When the soil is excessively saturated with water, it can cause the roots to rot.
When the top inch of soil is dry, established plants need watering. The vine may survive brief times of drought, but an extended period of dryness will ultimately be fatal for it.
Temperature & Humidity Requirements
These climbing plants thrive in the heat and humidity of summer in zones 3 to 9, and in zones 10 to 12 they will become perennials.
If you reside in an area with a climate that is often colder, you should hold off on planting them outside until the temperature is consistently between 60- and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
These plants thrive in tropical environments and demand a very high humidity level; but, if they are maintained well-watered, they may survive in drier environments.
When the plant is in bloom, use a high-phosphorus fertiliser diluted to half strength and fertilise the plant once every three to four weeks.
Avoid using high-nitrogen fertiliser since it can potentially encourage excessive foliage development at the price of blossoms.
However, as we advised throughout this article, this plant is toxic. Therefore, even the most minor ingestion or inhalation will cause severe symptoms – even paralysis.
It can also cause you to have an elevated heart rate, with potentially fatal consequences.
We are told that any survivors of moon lily poisoning may suffer lasting organ damage and cognitive impairment.
Final Thoughts on Moon Lilies – What You Need to Know
Therefore, please be aware that if you decide to put this plant in your garden, it must be where it is impossible for others – especially children and pets – to have any form of contact with it or even get close to it.
Despite the above, this plant is well worth a place in your garden on condition that it is a remote place designed as a showcase of plants.
The plant is excellent for ornamental gardens that are for viewing purposes only.
Wishing you a beautiful and sweet-smelling garden!