Ipomoea Species, Morning Glory, Bush Morning Glory, Man Root, Bush Moon Flower, Old-Man-of-the-Earth

Ipomoea leptophylla

Family: Convolvulaceae (kon-volv-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ipomoea (ip-oh-MEE-a) (Info)
Species: leptophylla (lep-toh-FIL-uh) (Info)




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Blooms repeatedly





Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


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

Moreno Valley, California

Denver, Colorado

Rolla, Kansas

Lexington, Massachusetts

Helena, Montana

Bard, New Mexico

Polkton, North Carolina

Fargo, North Dakota

Scio, Oregon

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 1, 2013, Gryllus from North River, ND wrote:

I have grown ipomoea leptophylla (bush morning glory) in Fargo, ND with great success. I planted 3 small roots next to our house 15 years ago. We regularly get down to -30 F every winter, hence planting on the south side close to the house. Our soil is heavy with a lot of clay, so I dug holes 2 1/2 feet deep and filled them with a mixture of sand, gravel and potting soil. After about 5 years I had large nice plants (only two survived). One has many stems about 5 feet long that are covered with nice pink flowers about 4 inches across, the other one is much smaller with 3 inch flowers. These plants are slow to reach maturity, but the hundreds of flowers make it worthwhile. So far both plants get a bit larger each year. These are not flowers for a small garden. I confine the large one with a ... read more


On Aug 16, 2010, 45eriepa from Lexington, MA wrote:

I've been growing Ipomoea leptophylla in the ground for 17 years, during which it has experienced a low of -13oF (-25oC) without damage. Of course, the enormous roots delve deeply, below any frost.. It is deciduous; blooming period is June through August. The flowers are somewhat scattered, but are large and a vibrant blue-purple. It is not to be moved, so choose its spot wisely, bearing in mind that it sprawls without support. I use a rose bush for that purpose, to fairly good effect.


On Oct 10, 2009, BajaBlue from Rancho Santa Rita, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This striking plant is not really a bush but many arching stems forming a dense mound.

Large pink flowers bloom in the cooler part of the day usually late spring to early summer. They prefer sandy soil, full sun and periodic deep watering. They die back to the ground in mid-summer.


On Jan 31, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Man root, bush morning glory (Ipomoea leptophylla) is also commonly known as bush moonflower, man of the earth, big-root morning-glory and tumbleweed morning glory (the top of the plant may break off and blow in the wind). A deciduous perennial, it is native to Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. It grows in sandy or gravelly soils on prairies, sandhills prairie, plains, meadows, pastures, savannahs, roadsides and dunes; however, it is adaptable well drained to garden soils. In cultivation if planted in clay, be sure that the be sure that water does not stand in the area in winter because the root may rot.

Bush morning glory has an erect to decumbent habit with stems that are bushy, bra... read more


On May 5, 2008, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I'm new to this plant. Received 3 of them as gift from the SW region. They grew slowly for me, I did however overwintered them inside for fear frost would cause damage even though the tag indicates that it's hardy to zone 5-8. I'll plant one in the ground (for experimentation with zonal hardiness), will keep the other 2 rhyzomes to move indoor and hopefully gain more knowledge of this plant's cuture, not until then I won't add my zipcode report until I learn for certain this plant indeed survive here in my zone.
The soil here is inheriently acidic, so I was told of the comercial pre-mix. That's what I've to work with. It's also said to suit for xeriscape garden, thus I'll make my site selection where it's well drain, and avoid standing water. The roots as seen on pictures I ... read more


On May 1, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

I germinated 2 seedlings last year, and grew one in a pot in sun and one in the ground in partial shade. They got to about 6 or 8" and then expired after a long time dwindling. I know one thing - good ol' humid, clay-ey Maryland is no arid, semi-desert climate habitat. Also, our pH was tested around 6.6 - 6.8 many years ago - does I. leptophylla prefer more alkaline pH?

This plant comes close to my ideal of a beautiful plant, with its slightly silvery leaves; open, airy growth habit; and "fairy-like" flowers - Gourd, I too would love to know what it wants that I couldn't give it.


On Feb 5, 2006, Gourd from Mesilla Park, NM wrote:

This is the 2nd time I have tried to grow this Ipomoea. The first time, the heat seemed to stunt it's growth last year.

This year, I am keeping the seedlings inside awhile longer before transplanting. They were grown with bottom heat, lights and soaked the seeds overnight. Hopefully this year it will get growing.