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What is Bindweed?

By Greer Hed
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bindweed is a common name for plants belonging to the family Convolvulaceae and the genus Convolvulus. The genus is made up of about 250 unique plant species, which can be easily recognized by their large flowers that are shaped like trumpets. Most species of bindweed are either vines, which are plants that climb supports vertically using either tendrils or suckers, or bines, which are also climbing plants that use shoots to climb. The plants are found in most areas of the world, and some species, such as Convolvulus arvensis or field bindweed, are considered rampant pests that cause a lot of damage in areas where food crops are grown. Other species, such as Convolvulus tricolor or dwarf morning glory, are grown in gardens as ornamental flowering plants.

Field bindweed is an invasive plant that can destroy agricultural crops. It is a fast-growing weed whose growth rate is difficult to control. This type of bindweed can reproduce from seed, but it also puts out a complex system of deep-growing roots and rhizomes, or underground stems, that help the plant to spread and expand quickly. Tilling soil near an area where field bindweed is growing can cause the roots to expand even more, so farmers sometimes attempt to exert some control over the plant by preparing their soil very carefully. Certain chemical agents can be effective in killing off this species, but it often requires many years of repeated application of these chemicals for them to fully take effect.

Not all bindweed species are considered weeds, however. Some species are grown in gardens because they have attractive flowers and also attract butterflies. Usually, the flowers are pink or white in color, but flowers also come in blue, purple and yellow shades. One of the most notable bindweed species to be grown as a decorative plant is Convolvulus tricolor, or the dwarf morning glory, which has bright blue flowers.

Dwarf morning glories are annual plants indigenous to the Mediterranean arena, but they grow in almost any location that has a similarly temperate climate. Usually, they are cultivated from seeds that are available from gardening stores. While the plants are seedlings, it is best to grow them inside. They can be transplanted outside once frosts have subsided. The dwarf morning glory prefers to be planted in a spot where there is plenty of sunshine. It needs only moderate amounts of water as it enjoys high temperatures and often grows in sandy soil.

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