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'Chocolate Rose Silk' Japanese Morning Glory

My ‘Chocolate Rose Silk’ Japanese morning glory came from a seed trade years ago. This spring I finally got around to sowing the morning glory seeds and growing out a couple of plants. My morning glory’s blooms most closely resemble the Ipomoea nil ‘Chocolate Rose Silk’ available for sale at a couple of different seed websites and that’s what I’ve chosen to identify my plant as.

The color of ‘Chocolate Rose Silk‘ blooms can be best described as a muddy rose color, in certain lights and conditions the ‘chocolate’ colored flower is a lot darker. The blooms span between 5 and 6 inches wide and have a white-picotee edge. The flowers of this Japanese Morning Glory stay open for the better part of the day. Don’t confuse the ’Chocolate Rose Silk’ Japanese morning glory with the ’Chocolate’ Japanese morning glory. ’Chocolate’ doesn’t have a white trim around the flower like ’Chocolate Rose Silk’ does. There seem to be a lot of “versions” of this Japanese morning glory available. Some have the white trim around the bloom, some have variegated foliage and some have larger, more frilly blooms than others. Which makes me wonder why seed sellers who carry this Japanese morning glory describe them as “rare” when there are so many varieties of it available.

Japanese Morning Glory Leaf

The first thing you may notice about Japanese morning glories, after the blooms, is their distinctive foliage. The leaves of Japanese morning glories look dramatically different than the morning glory that’s probably growing in an alley near your home and garden. There are various leaf forms, I believe this one is called dragonfly leaf (“Tonbo-ba”) because supposedly the leaves resemble a dragonfly spreading its four wings.

Japanese Morning Glory Seed Pod picture

The third growth characteristic you may notice about Japanese morning glories is the longer than average sepals. The seed pods are also different in that they don’t dangle like they do in Ipomoea purpurea. See the picture of the seed pods in my post on how to save morning glory seeds. The seed pods on Japanese morning glories point upward.

Japanese Morning Glory Chocolate Rose Silk Bloom

The blooms on my ‘Chocolate Rose Silk’ morning glory showed some variation. For example: take a look at this picture of ‘Chocolate Rose Silk’ and compare it to the picture posted above. This bloom opened on a day when it was twenty degrees colder, cloudy and photographed late afternoon.

Asagao Japanese Morning Glory

In Japan morning glories are serious business and lead the lives of pampered plants in pots. Do an internet search for “Asagao” morning glories and prepared to be wowed at the variety of bloom size, shape and color. While researching my Japanese morning glory I rediscovered the morning glories database by Yoshiaki Yoneda. If you'd like to learn about the history, care and cultivation of Japanese morning glories: this database is the most comprehensive resource in English. Make sure to read the beginner's guide to Asagao Japanese morning glories.

'Chocolate Rose Silk' Japanese Morning Glory

Morning glories have a reputation of being invasive plants. In gardens in my neighborhood I can see several examples of this (mostly 'Grandpa Ott'), but I think the Japanese morning glories are less so. 'Chocolate Rose Silk' grew to a decent size and bloomed nicely, but not as prolific as one would expect. I think it may have something to do with the fact that in Japan they're accustomed to a to living a life of pampered potted plants and their every whim catered to. If you live in a Zone where morning glories grow rapidly and can become a nuisance consider growing a Japanese morning glory and in the style of the morning glory enthusiast of Japan as described in the morning glory database linked above.

Japanese Morning Glory Resources

See this paper about the genetic analysis of white-margined flowers in the Japanese morning glory and an explanation of the dusky mutant Japanese morning glories displaying reddish-brown or purplish-gray flowers(PDF). “Ron Convolvulaceae,” who you are likely to come across online at any forum about morning glories, has a Cubit about morning glories that was a tremendous help in my research. In one of his postings online I learned that Ipomoea x imperialis is not a scientific epithet for Japanese morning glories. The term is used by the horticultural trade and garden writers only and is pretty much meaningless. “EmmaGrace,” is a Japanese morning glory grower, hybridizer and expert in the chocolate-colored Japanese morning glories. If you’re looking to buy some exotic Japanese morning glories her Ebay seller name is “jmglvr.” Both of them were a tremendous asset in my research and as the reason I’m running a Japanese morning glory fever.

How to Collect Morning Glory Seeds.

Related Post: How to Save Morning Glory Seeds.


  1. What a beautiful morning glory, MBT. I've never seen anything like it before. Its name is perfectly descriptive (and include three of my favourite things!)

  2. This is probably the most beautiful morning glory I've ever seen. I am growing these next year, for sure.

    Also, thanks for all of the awesome morning glory resources -- I've been meaning to read up on them, and now I have no excuse not to :-)

    Great post!

  3. Anonymous10:40 PM

    THIS is a beautiful morning glory! I really LOVE the aged look to the colors. Amazing!

  4. Um... I really like the foliage!

  5. What a lovely plant. Normally I rip them all out of the ground - and not nicely! - but these are worth a second look. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hello MBT! I am a great fan of morning glories and tend to grow them up everything I can find, however, I have never seen chocolate ones! I love them! Could you please suggest a place to purchase them? If you are willing to sell a dozen or so, please contact me. Thank you so much for this post and what a GREAT BLOG! I will be putting this on my sidebar for others to find too. It would be great if you had a button blog for others to use.

  7. @Jodi, Thanks. I'm glad I finally took the seeds out of my stash and germinated them. I've had these for about six years and never bothered to sow them before. All these years I could've been enjoying the blooms.

    @Colleen, You're welcomed. Be careful though, it can get addicting reading all these forums and websites about Japanese morning glories. The Cubits morning glory forum is pretty good, although you have to register to see most of the forums. While 'Chocolate Rose Silk' is nice, I'd have to say that you're bound to see some really beautiful ones out there. I'm amazed at what hybridizers are doing with them.

    @Snarky Vegan, Glad you liked it snarky! I too like the color change as it ages.

    @Monica, Hater! :P

    @Webb, You're welcomed! I know what you mean I have some "pink" ones that grow wild in the alley that I'm happy to tear out with a vengence when I see them.

    @Ozark, Thank you for the nice comment. SummerHillSeeds has 'Chocolate Rose Silk' and 'Chocolate' morning glory seeds for sale. Although, I've never purchased from them before so I can't swear to their quality. In the last paragraph I posted a link to the website for "EmmaGrace" who you can also find on the Cubits morning glory forum. Look for her name (jmglvr) on Ebay. She tells me that she's going to put up her latest batch of seeds within a month. She has the most amazing collection of chocolate-colored morning glories I've seen. Way more than you'll find searching on Google images. You can also contact her through her website. I'll take the button idea into consideration.

  8. I love morning glories. I've never seen this variety before. It's such a pretty color.

  9. Beautiful color, MBT, especially the one that bloomed in cooler weather. Did you really steal seeds and have a story ready to tell about doing scientific research? I've been growing Ipomoea batatas this summer in the garden and have already harvested twice. They also have beautiful blooms, which I didn't expect at all.

  10. Wow so pretty. I want one.

  11. @MeemsNYC, Glad you liked it. It is indeed a pretty color.

    @Walk2Write, Since you've caught a few typos and mistakes in the past here when I don't double-check my drafts, I'm really worried I made a mistake and don't see it. No, the seeds were given to me by someone in a trade about six years ago now and I just finally got around to sowing them this year. Funny that you mention the I. batatas because I drafted a post on it today. Aren't the blooms incredible? 'Blackie' has the nicest bloom I've seen of all of them.

    @Melissa, If they do ok in your area I'd say grow some! The seeds aren't that expensive and they're easy to sprout and grow.

  12. When I click on the video, there is a message that briefly pops up on it that says you have stolen seeds from someone's garden. I thought it was a joke you had added.

  13. Oh, I see. I sometimes forget I put text in the videos. :0) Yeah, it was kind of a joke, the plant was growing on the sidewalk.

  14. flyshooter7:05 PM

    the foliage is similar to this, any idea what i have at this link?

    the seeds are 5-6mm



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