I discovered Japanese Morning Glories in 2005 while researching information on Japanese Iris. I was looking for a flowering plant that would thrive in the local heat and humidity and could offer an opportunity for my interests in genetics and plant breeding. I now live in the deep South after growing up in the Pacific Northwest. While in the PNW I had developed a few breeding lines of Asiatic Lilies and Japanese Iris. I knew the Asiatic Lilies were not adaptable here, but was thinking the Japanese Iris might be suitable. When I discovered the various strains of Ipomea nil that the Japanese had developed I was intrigued. The fact that they are an annual plant and that relatively quick generations are possible made me realize that I had a winner.
I’ve always been interested in the Oriental cultures and the history of the Japanese Morning Glory was fascinating. As it has also been used as a research plant, there was technical information available to keep my focus. Their photogenic characteristics also fit right into my interest profile.
I soon learned of the various mutations and how the Japanese had developed many different complex systems that produce uniquely elegant and beautiful flowers. Not only did they focus on the flowers, but the presentation and development of the leaves was also important. I was hooked.