What if you could duplicate a starry night sky, but in your garden instead? These 10 night-blooming flowers show off their beauty at night so you can enjoy their subtle glow without flooding your garden with artificial light.
Planting your own night-blooming flowers will also help you get back in touch with nature. Instead of staying in at night to watch TV, why not spend some time in your backyard with your moon garden? The flowers will provide a beautiful and fragrant backdrop for any moonlight ritual you wish to forego.
While these night-blooming flowers will show up better on nights with lunar lighting (full moon, anyone?), their designs can be enjoyed even in the absence of moonlight. Their fragrant aromas can also be appreciated with or without the presence of a full moon.
Flowers For Moon Gardens
There are four types of plants used when creating a magical moon garden (1):
1. Plants with white flowers.
2. Plants with bright foliage.
3. Night blooming flowers.
4. Plants with fragrant blooms.
It is suggested, when planting moon gardens, to “mass plant.” In other words, you want to plant your night-blooming flowers in large clusters so that individual blossoms don’t get swallowed up by the darkness. If you plant them in a giant circle or crescent shape, when they bloom, it’ll look as though the moon is right there on the ground with you – “as above, so below.”
For the purposes of this article, I will outline the night-blooming flowers first, followed by a list of the other three types of plants you might want to consider for your moon garden.
These plants have some of the most fragrant blossoms – and rightfully so. If not for a strong scent, they would never get pollinated. By emitting a strong fragrance, they lure in nighttime pollinators so they have the chance to bloom.
1. Evening Primrose (Oenothera)
This perennial spreads rapidly and can cover a lot of ground. The pale pinkish-white flowers open at dusk and release a sweet aroma.
2. Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia)
The hanging trumpet-shaped flowers make this plant a delight for any garden. This annual spreads like crazy, but it is also a tropical plant, so it grows best in zones 9-11. However, this plant can be grown in a container, and brought inside when cool. Be careful, however, as the plant is poisonous.
3. Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
This beautiful plant blooms at night and releases a lemony scent once opened. During the day, the white flowers are tightly shut. This plant can grow up to eight feet long, so make sure you have a trellis, or other support, so the plant will bloom. The flowers are 5-6 inches in diameter once fully bloomed. Be careful, however, as the plant is poisonous.
4. Night Phlox (Zaluzianskya ovata)
This is a great flower to add evening fragrance to your night-blooming garden. It offers a honey-almond, vanilla fragrance that combines well with the sweet scents of angel’s trumpet or the four o’clock flowers.
5. Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)
These orchid cactus plants have pure white flowers that open up to the size of a dinner plate when the sun goes down. They stay open all night, and close in the morning. The have a wonderful, unforgettable fragrance.
6. Night Bloom Water Lilies (Nymphaeaceae)
The crimson red or purple water lily is one of the most magnificently coloured flowers in the world. They first open at dusk and close at about 9:00 in the morning. They are a great addition to any medium or large pond.
7. Four O’Clock Flower (Mirabilis jalapa)
This flower goes by many names, but the most popular is “Four O’Clock,” because the flowers open in late afternoon. They remain open until morning, and on cloudy days, they may not close at all. They are a bushy, tender perennial that can be grown from tubers or seeds.
8. Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa)
If you love smelling flowers, you need tuberose in your garden. This bulb produces tall flower spikes with numbers of tubular blooms and a rich, sultry, seductive fragrance. It blooms at night and because of this, many cultures have named the flower accordingly. The Hindi name is Rajnigandha, which means “night-fragrant” and its Bengali name is Rajoni-Gandha, translating to “scent of the night.” The Chinese name means “night fragrance” and the Indonesian name translates to “night fragrant flower.”
9. Tobacco Plant (Nicotiana)
This annual is great for anyone who enjoys its fragrant scent. It is a member of the tobacco family and contains high concentrations of nicotine. The star-shaped flowers open up in late afternoon, and are on fragrant display all evening – perfect for anyone wanting to grow a moon garden.
10. Night-Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)
This woody evergreen shrub grows between 4 and 13 feet tall. It is cultivated for its fragrance, and the narrow, tubular, greenish-white blossoms only open at night. The flowers, which produce a strong, sweet fragrance, attract moths and butterflies.
Plants with White Flowers
Plants that are white in colour will show up great in any garden geared for nighttime viewing. While some of these flowers come in colours other than white, try to stick with white if you’re making a moon garden!
– Creeping phlox
– Bleeding heart
– Azaleas and rhododendrons
– Queen Anne’s lace
– Sweet alyssum
– Snow in summer
– Shasta daisy
– Laurel shrubs
– Climbing hydrangea
– Garden phlox
– False dragonhead
– Sweet autumn clematis
Plants with Bright Foliage
Aside from flowers, there are some pretty awesome plants out there that possess bright foliage. These are great if you want something low-maintenance.
– Variegated dogwood bushes
– Variegated euonymus
– Gold Mops
– Hosta (variegated, gold)
– Artemisia (silver)
– Lamb’s Ear (silver)
Plants with Fragrant Blooms
These plants, including night blooming flowers, also possess some fragrant flowers that can be enjoyed from your bedroom window if you plant them nearby.
– Bearded iris
– Korean Spice Viburnum
– Lilac bushes
– Easter Lilies
– Lilies of the valley
How will you go about planting your moon garden? Let me know in the comments below what plants you’d preferably use, and if you’ve had success growing them.