Blue Daze is an Evolvulus subspecies of morning glory that is not a morning glory but instead grows in low-growing mounds. This non-native ornamental is a popular perennial and belongs to the large Convolvulus (morning glory) family, which includes 60 genera and about 1650 species, most with funnel-shaped flowers.
The genus Evolvulus has about 100 species, mainly from America. Florida grows in the wild and has four native species plus Blue Daze which evolved in Brazil, South America.
The round blue face of the funnel-shaped flowers of Blue Daze (Evolvulus glomeratus) has five fused petals on a hairy stalk. It blooms during the day but closes at night. Silvery hairs adorn its small oval, grey-green leaves and thin stems. Mature clump height is about 12 inches: spread can be 20-24 inches.
Blue Daze flowers from spring through fall in full sun, six hours a day, to a light-filtered partial shade.
The soil must be well drained, not wet or muddy. A powdery mildew can infect this plant if kept too moist. It tolerates afternoon rain and watering as long as the soil drains quickly and the foliage is dry by sunset.
In subtropical Florida, morning dew evaporates early after sunrise, but the summer humidity can create ideal conditions for mold growth. Plant breeders have developed varieties that are resistant to powdery mildew.
The placement of Evolvulus glomeratus is important as it does not bloom well in the shade. Although semi-hard in hardiness zones 8, it can be frozen during winter frosts. Farther south, in warmer zones 9 and above, it thrives for several years.
Prune in early spring to remove dead old growth, tidy up the clump and encourage new flowering stem tips. By June, tiny seedlings may sprout near the parent clump. I prick out seedlings and plant several in a pot to form a small clump that grows faster than a single seedling can grow.
There are several cultivars that are grown by mass-market growers and are shipped and sold at retail nurseries for about $7 for a 6-inch diameter pot that holds about one liter (four cups) in volume.
Small growers like me who are state registered and collect sales tax can sell small pots of Blue Daze for as little as $2. Many nursery pots are now D-shaped or flattened on two sides instead of round. Most now have the pot volume stated on the plant tag or tag.
Plant labels contain a wealth of information. I put tags in a notebook that write the date and location in the garden. For detailed information, photos, and a distribution map, go to florida.plantatlas.usf.edu. It lists five Evolvulus species that grow in the wild in Florida.
Slender Dwarf Morning Glory (E. alsinoides) is a native plant that grows wild in South Florida in zones 10 and 11 in well-drained habitats.
Dwarf morning glory (E. convolvuloides) is a native species listed by the state as vulnerable in Monroe and Dade counties. It does not grow in the wild anywhere else in Florida.
Blue Daze (E. glomeratus subsp. grandiflorus) is the popular Brazilian non-native sold commercially and has escaped cultivation in the South Florida Keys in Monroe County. It has light blue petals with a white throat and stamens. It is not invasive, but spreads by seeds and is propagated by cuttings.
Grisebach’s morning glory or Grisebach’s bindweed (E. grisebachii) is a native species listed as vulnerable in Florida, where it only grows in the Florida Keys of Monroe County. It also grows in Cuba.
It usually has solitary white flowers and very hairy greyish leaves.
Silver Dwarf Morning Glory (E. sericeus) can grow in the right spot in most of Florida from the Georgia border to the Florida Keys. It grows elsewhere, including Jamaica.
Southern gardeners and homeowners enjoy growing Blue Daze in home gardens. The pollen attracts bees and other pollinators, as well as creatures that eat the pollinators, such as birds, lizards, and toads. Farther north, the plants are killed off by freezing during cold winters, so they can be treated as a variegated bedding annual.
Jane Weber is a professional gardener and consultant. She is semi-retired and grows thousands of native plants. Visitors are welcome in her garden in Dunnellon, Marion County. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.