Railroad Vine

Vine with green rounded leaves and purple trumpet shaped  flowers growing along the beach
Railroad vine with flowers. Stephen H. Brown, UF/IFAS

Railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae) is an attractive native plant that makes a great groundcover for coastal gardens. Sometimes called beach morning glory, it has a high tolerance for salty air and sandy soils, and can help prevent erosion around dunes.

This sprawling plant puts out low-growing runners covered with leathery green leaves. Easily reaching thirty feet, it’s these long, straight runners give railroad vine its common name. It will need some pruning to stay in bounds. It can bloom at any time of year with pink, trumpet-shaped flowers, but it usually looks its best from May to November.

In addition to coastal areas, railroad vine can also be grown inland in sunny, well-drained sites large enough to accommodate its rambling nature. The best time to plant is between March and October. It’s drought tolerant once established, but you should provide regular watering until the plants take hold.

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