Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Plata Ipomoea, Caudiciform Morning Glory
Ipomoea platensis

Family: Convolvulaceae (kon-volv-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ipomoea (ip-oh-MEE-a) (Info)
Species: platensis (pla-TEN-sis) (Info)

Synonym:Ipomoea platense

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Vines and Climbers

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Buttoneer On Dec 8, 2010, Buttoneer from Carlisle, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I grow this plant in my greenhouse. I have not put it outside but will try that this summer. You can root the stems in water so you nave a backup, should you lose the parent plant. I do not know if this plant is hardy to zone 6 which we are in. Will have to do more research on it. Mine used to bloom like crazy but when the potting soil got too old, it stopped, so I repotted it but did not water, since it is winter now & the soil was slightly moist but not soaking. One of my favorite Morning Glories.

Positive cryptofern On Aug 28, 2010, cryptofern from Milwaukee, WI wrote:

...I have had a seed grown specimen of this plant in a large clay pot for several years. It would not last through the year outside in my cold Wisconsin zone 4-5 winter, so I bring it indoors. It has not bloomed for me, but I was growing it for the highly unusual caudex-root. My suggestion would be keeping the root covered up until you get the size you want and then gradually uncover it for the effect you are looking for. Keeping the root covered with soil encourages it to grow large. Come late summer/early fall in my area, I trim back the vines to three inches to the caudex, and withhold water until it goes dormant. I then winter it over in our heated basement until spring, when I start to give it a little water. As soon as I notice it sending out tendrils, which are a dark reddish color, I put it outside if the weather is warm enough, or under grow lights if it is too cold outside. The leaves on my plant are deeply palmate, and medium green. I bought the seeds from a professional seedsman. Seems to like it a bit on the dry side, it might rot if it gets too wet and cold. Vines can be trimmed back to get a 'bonsai' look. Tough and easy to maintain once you get it growing, no problems outside of the possibility of rotting from over-watering or cold. I haven't noticed any insect infestation troubles , but squirrels might chew on the exposed caudex. Keep that covered with soil or gravel or stones outdoors to avoid disaster. Likes terracotta pots, possibly because of the drainage and air circulation. Use a good quality, free draining soil. Transplanting is easy because of the caudex. I soaked the seed in warm water to which I added a few drops of Hydrogen Peroxide and Superthrive after using a nail file to gently file the seed coat on the rounded side. I was careful to only go deep enough to barely scratch the surface. Then it was planted after the seed swelled up after soaking in the solution, which took about 24 hours. I potted in a good seed starter soil and placed it on a heating mat. It sprouted in about one or two weeks, and grew vigorously after that. With care, it is a long lived, unusual plant, not found in the big-box garden centers. I do not know what is the natural life span of this species, although considering the caudex size, I suspect it might be very long...

Positive natureguyfrog On Jun 13, 2010, natureguyfrog from San Diego, CA wrote:

I am not absolutely certain that it is I. platensis, however, nothing else comes close. Greatly enlarged and upright caudex. Palmate leaves with the forward/center leaf slightly greater in diameter than the rest. Leaves somewhat irregular especially when young or first emergent. Definitely deciduous fall and winter in low water conditions. Warm season plant growth.

From ten apparently viable seeds collected in winter 7 seedlings have developed into established plants.

Hot water treatment was not successful in hydrating seeds. Although difficult to hold... as the seeds are fairly small I nicked them with a sharp knife taking care not to cut into the white embryo (and my finger!). Nicking the hard outer coating is difficult and may have led to injuring the other embryos that did not survive. Could try using sand paper or emory pater to wear down the seed coating?

Needed warmth to germinate. Even though germination was in one to two weeks; the seedlings did not produce true leaves until two to three weeks later. Now it is June in San Diego. With milder night-time temps they are starting to produce short vining upward growth with irregular rounded to somewhat oval leaves not showing any lobes or the palmate pattern of mature leaves.

The original plant from which I got the 10 seeds has now produced about 5 long vining shoots arising from the swollen caudex that are 3 to 6 feet long and have many 1/2" to 2" long stems arising from the juncture of leaf and main stem with clusters of immature flower buds....Again this is just about mid-June in San Diego, CA.

New growth, stems and buds are dark colored. The mature leaves are dark green upper and a paler off-green underside. I have yet to see the flower color but was described to me as a light pink.

So far looks like a really fun plant to grow!!! It certainly tops any of the more common weedy although attractive flowering morning glory types! The vote isn't in yet but I'll bet this plant gets a 5 star!



This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

San Diego, California
Spring Valley, California
Zephyrhills, Florida
Scio, Oregon
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Jacksonville, Texas

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