Night-Blooming Flowers

Question: Being a nonconformist and a night owl, I thought it would be interesting to grow flowers that can be appreciated at night. Can you suggest some night-blooming flowers that can be grown outdoors?


Answer: The reason that certain flowers open at night or release fragrance at night is because they are attracting night-flying pollinators such as moths. One of the more familiar night-blooming annuals is the flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata). Petunias open by day but release their scent at night. Try the varieties ‘Celebrity White’, ‘Ultra White’, or ‘Apollo’. Other night-blooming annuals to consider are the moonflower vine (Ipomoea alba), angel’s trumpet (Datura inoxia), night phlox (Zaluzianskya capensis), and night-scented stock (Matthiola longipetala). Night-blooming perennials include August hosta (Hosta plantaginea), lemon lily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus), and citron daylily (H. citrina). ‘Alaskan Midnight’, ‘Ice Dancer’, and ‘Nautical Nights’ are also nocturnal daylilies. Among woody plants, both the ear-leaved umbrella tree (Magnolia fraseri) and the sweet bay (M. virginiana) are night-scented. For a more comprehensive list, refer to The Evening Garden: Flowers and Frangrance from Dusk till Dawn, by Peter Loewer.


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