We have all seen flower gardens with a beautiful array of flowers, all dainty and delicate but as evening sets in, they retreat themselves to sleep. But did you know that some flowers spring up as the sun starts to set? Yes, some flowers bloom at night under the moonlight and bring forth their fragrant scent into the night air.
If you are a night person and love the company of flowers, moon gardens could be your safe haven. They are perfect for a quiet evening walk or simply as a place to retreat after a long day’s work. The sweet fragrance in the air of flowers that bloom at night can also be calming and therapeutic. Flowers that bloom at night also tend to be excellent aesthetics for outdoor gatherings during late evenings.
How are Night-Blooming Flowers Different from Day-Blooming Flowers
Day blooming flowers are generally pollinated by animals and insects that are active during the daytime, such as bees, butterflies, and birds. In the case of flowers that bloom at night, the pollinators are generally bats, moths, and insects that are active during the night.
Another difference is that flowers that bloom at night usually give out a strong fragrance to attract pollinators in the dark. Day blooming flowers are also scented, but they also have brightly colored flowers for attracting pollinators.
Why are flowers that bloom at night generally white in color
Flowers that bloom at night are generally white in color because they do not require bright colors to be visible to pollinators. So, they do not waste resources in secreting colored pigments. Moreover, pale-colored flowers tend to glow in the moonlight, which makes them easier to be spotted by pollinators.
Flowers That Bloom at Night
Flowers that bloom at night have a charm of their own that’s unique and subtle. When the sun goes down, and the lights go dim, these are the flowers that capture the spotlight and fill up the space. So if you’re thinking of building a moon garden, then here are 12 flowery friends to keep you company.
1. Evening Primrose
Evening Primrose is a biennial flower, which means it takes two years for its cycle to complete. It produces leaves in the first year, and in the second year, it produces flowers and dies out.
When dusk arrives during late spring and early fall, evening primrose springs out beautiful yellow flowers that stay open till about noon the next day. It gives out a sweet fragrance that attracts butterflies, bees, and moths.
These flowers that bloom at night are native to North America, and since a long time ago, it has been used for medicinal purposes. The Evening Primrose oil extracted from these flowers has been used to treat Eczema, Multiple Sclerosis, and Premenstrual Syndrome.
Evening Primrose normally blooms from late spring to the end of summer.
Ipomoea alba, commonly known as Moonflower or tropical white morning glory, are night-blooming flowers that open at the onset of dusk and usually retreat once sunlight falls on them. However, on cloudy days remain open until late into the afternoon.
Moonflowers are the evergreen perennial vine that grows best on supportive structures like trellis and pergola and can reach a height of up to 15 meters. They are trumpet-shaped flowers that flaunt beautiful white or pink flowers, giving off a citrusy lemon scent that attracts moths, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
These flowers that bloom at night are usually grown in sub-tropical regions, but they can also be grown in cold regions as annuals.
3. Chocolate Daisy
Chocolate Daisy is a wildflower that resembles a daisy with a chocolate brown center. It blooms into beautiful bright yellow flowers that blossom at twilight and give off a chocolate-like aroma that is more prominent in the mornings. As the morning sets in, these flowers that bloom at night retreat, and the fragrance dissipates.
Chocolate Daisy is native to the western part of North America and is known to tolerate hot and dry climatic conditions. Locals of this region have likely witnessed these dainty wildflowers glistening in the sun.
Although they are best grown in a tropical climate, they can thrive even in regions of cold climatic conditions where they start blooming from the spring season up till the first winter frost. In regions of tropical climatic conditions, they bloom year-round.
4. Casa Blanca Lily
Casa Blanca Lily is a fragrant night-blooming flower that tends to reflect the moonlight and will make a beautiful addition to your moon garden. These flowers that bloom at night are known for their large white flowers that are outward-facing with reddish-brown anthers, and bloom as the dusk sets in, starting from mid-summer up till late summer.
They are also widely grown as cut flowers and used for occasions such as wedding bouquets on weddings for their large and beautiful blossoms. However, care is to be taken to leave enough stem and leaves for the plant to ensure that the bulb can thrive during winter and bloom again in spring.
Casa Blanca bulbs can be planted in spring in colder regions, and in milder areas, they can be planted in spring or fall. They grow best in full sun but can also grow ideally in partial shade.
They also require well-drained and moist garden soil to thrive with regular watering.
Casa Blanca Lily is also used for extracting oils and used in perfumes. Its sweet fragrance draws pollinators, butterflies, and hawkmoths.
Tuberose flowers are one of the most important tropical ornamental plants. They are highly valued for their beauty and fragrance by the aesthetic world. They are white and star-shaped and bloom in clusters on a long spike.
These flowers that bloom at night are native to Mexico and are deeply incorporated into the Aztec culture and used in many ceremonies.
Tuberose gives out a very sweet, floral, and honey-like fragrance. They are widely harvested to be used in perfumes due to their pleasant aroma and are one of the world’s most fragrant flowers.
These flowers that bloom at night begin to open in the evenings during late summer between August and September. They prefer the sun and warmer climate, and during the night, they reflect the moonlight, making it a perfect choice for a moon garden. They are also used as cut flowers and arranged in bouquets.
6. Night-blooming Jessamine
Night-blooming Jessamine, also sometimes known as Night-blooming Jasmine or lady-of-the-night, is not true jasmine but a nightshade family member. It is a tropical evergreen shrub.
In appearance, Night-blooming Jessamine is nothing spectacular. They are tubular flowers having small, non-showy, white flowers with hints of green.
Although they may not be very visible, it is impossible to miss their strong perfumed scent that fills the air at night. This is why they are mostly grown close to the homes or on the patio: to enjoy their fragrance.
They are popular in warm climates and can grow up to 10 feet tall, making them perfect for providing shade. They require regular watering in the initial stage. However, once they are established, they require minimal care and have good tolerance towards drought.
Night-blooming Jessamine is native to the Caribbean and West Indies. These flowers bloom from January to June, but they can be a great asset for your night garden throughout the year.
7. Queen of the Night
Epiphyllum oxypetalum, also commonly known as Queen of the Night or Dutchman’s pipe cactus, is a night-blooming cereus, which is referred to as an orchid cactus. This rare succulent displays large, white flower petals and are heavily scented. They are short-lived, and some of these species bloom for just one night in a year.
Although they show up rarely, when they do, they look magnificent under the moon’s light. Like most succulent plants, they grow best in full sun or partial shade and preferably on well-drained soil.
These night-blooming plants can grow up to 10 feet tall. However, being epiphytes, they need to be close to other plants as they need support to grow.
These flowers that bloom at night are native to the tropical rain forests of Mexico and the southern states of North America. They are grown both indoors and outdoors. If they are grown indoors, they should be kept in a bright area, but direct sunlight should be avoided. If grown outdoors, they should be kept under partial shade.
These plants cannot tolerate freezing temperatures; hence in cooler climates, they should be kept indoors to protect them and preferably kept far away from windows and open areas.
8. Night Phlox
Night Phlox is also called midnight candy, and it definitely lives up to its name because it releases a sweet honey-almond-vanilla fragrance that is immensely pleasing. They can be a great addition to the evening fragrance garden along with other fragrant night bloomers that complement each other such as Angel’s trumpets and dianthus.
Moreover, Night Phlox are available in colors such as pink, purple and white; hence you can trust these flowers to bring that pop of color to the moon garden.
These flowers that bloom at night are native to South Africa and blooms throughout the summer. Its buds open at the brink of dusk and stay throughout the night, attracting bees, butterflies, and birds with its sweet fragrance.
Night Phlox tend to grow best in full sun or partial shade, and they can be highly drought resistant once they are established. If they are to be grown in the shade, they can be grown in containers to move them towards the sun when required.
9. Angel’s Trumpet
Brugmansia, also known as Angel’s Trumpet, is a night-blooming plant that is believed to be extinct in the wild, but it can be planted in gardens. They are evergreen plants and are typically less than 26 feet.
Most of their species are fragrant at night and are pollinated by moths, but red Angel’s Trumpet does not release any scent and is known to be pollinated by hummingbirds.
They are downward-facing, trumpet-shaped blossoms of shades like peach, white, yellow, or pink, and their scent tend to be strongest in the evening.
Angel’s Trumpet was native to South America, but now several of its species have neutralized in many temperate and tropical countries around the world. They bloom from early summer and stretch through fall, but in warmer climates, they can bloom throughout the year.
However, it is important to remember that Angel’s Trumpet belongs to the nightshade family and is poisonous and ingesting any part of the plant could pose a threat.
All parts of this plant are poisonous, and if ingested, it can cause hallucinations, paralysis, and memory loss. Some of their species were used in rituals and as herbal medicines by indigenous peoples and shamans in North Andes.
10. Night Gladiolus
Night Gladiolus (Gladiolus tristis) is a night-blooming flower that is perennial and grows from corms. These blossoms are arranged closely on strong and erect spikes and have sword-like leaves. Hence it received the name of Sword Lily.
They have markings on the lower inside petals and have simple creamy white or luminous yellow flowers. They make great cut flowers, but their scent mysteriously diminishes after being cut.
They grow up to five feet tall and generally start blooming from late spring up till mid-summer. These flowers that bloom at night are native to South Africa.
Night Gladiolus is, however, not drought tolerant and hence needs regular irrigation and proper draining soil, but after flowering, the watering can be reduced. They require full sun to partial shade. They are known for their wild sweet, and spicy scent.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that these night-blooming flowers are quite toxic to humans and pet animals. Therefore care should be taken to keep them out of reach of children and pets.
11. Nicotiana Alata
Nicotiana Alata is also commonly known as flowering tobacco and sometimes referred to as jasmine tobacco. These flowers that bloom at night are native to South America and is perennial in the southern part of the continent and annual in northern regions.
The specific name Alata means “winged” because of its leaves that resemble wings. Flowering tobacco comes in shades of pink, yellow, green, white, and red flowers, and they grow up to four to five feet tall. The leaves of this plant tend to be sticky.
These night-blooming plants can be an excellent option to bring colors into moon gardens, and they are also known for growing at a fast pace. They open in the late afternoon or at the onset of evening, filling the air with their strong fragrance, which can attract hummingbirds and insects even during the day.
Flowering tobacco thrives best in full sun or partial shade, and they have low drought tolerance; hence they need regular watering. They are also susceptible to temperature drops and may suffer if the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
12. Night Scented Stock
Also known as Evening Stock, these flowers that bloom at night are an old-fashioned annual and reach their peak fragrance in at early evening. Night Scented Stock has faded purple or white petals, making excellent cut flowers for bouquets.
Although what makes them stand out is their lovely fragrance hence they are a great choice to fill the outdoor living areas.
They are native to North America and are easy to grow and thrive just about anywhere, provided there is full sun.
Indeed, flowers are one of nature’s best gifts, and they should not be limited to just the daytime. The subtle beauty and sweet fragrance of flowers that bloom at night make them a perfect choice for a moon garden where they can be truly enjoyed and appreciated.