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Flowers that Bloom in the Moonlight

Flowers that Bloom in the Moonlight

Are you looking for some magic and romance in your life? If so, consider planting a moon garden full of plants that flower in the moonlight. Moon gardens are a great idea if you work during the daytime and don’t get much time to enjoy day-blooming flowers. Imagine yourself unwinding from a busy day surrounded by fragrant flowers that seem to glow in the moonlight. If you can’t think of many night-blooming flowers, I have some ideas for you.


The moonflower is a fast-growing tropical vine that is often used as an annual in colder regions. The flower is very similar to that of a morning glory flower but larger and pure white. This flower unfurls at twilight to welcome moths that serve as pollinators. In addition to being beautiful, this flower also has a lovely scent.

Evening-Scented Stock

This old-fashioned favorite may not have the showiest of flowers, but it makes up for that with its scent. Evening-scented stock is very easy to care for, grows up to two feet tall, and bears small lilac or white flowers. To me, they have a clove scent; however, some say they smell like roses or vanilla.

Night Phlox

This honey-scented flower is really not in the phlox family at all – it just looks quite similar to a white phlox flower. Deep pinkish-red buds provide interest during the day and open at night, smelling like candy and cake! Plant it under your window for sweet dreams.


Does this sound like an oxymoron? Believe it or not, there are two cultivars of daylilies that bloom only at night. One is the bright yellow Toltec Sundial, and the other is the lavender Moon Frolic. Toltec Sundial is highly fragrant, while Moon Frolic is not.

Night-Blooming Cereus or Queen of the Night

This common name refers to many different plants, but all are night-blooming cacti. Most feature large, spectacular, sweet-scented white blooms that, to me, look like fireworks. The blooms open at night and usually start wilting by sunrise. Unless you live in a tropical area, these should be treated as house plants – they can summer outside in cold areas but must be brought inside for winter.

Queen of the Night

Images via Flickr from Robert Montgomery

Tropical Night-Blooming Water Lilies

These water lilies are simply breathtaking; they will definitely be the focal point of your pond in the evening. The blooms are very large, pink or white, and have the typical water lily flower form. They open as the sun is going down and exude a pungent scent, then close at mid-morning. They are tropical and require a water temperature of at least 70 degrees, or they will go dormant and possibly die.

Evening Primrose

Evening primrose is an annual plant native to the Americas, and it is almost weedy in habit. It can reach up to four feet tall and reseeds prolifically. There are different varieties, and the two-inch flowers can be yellow, white, or pink. The flowers can open in as little as a minute, and they smell of lemons. Evening primrose has a wide variety of medicinal and culinary uses.

Evening Primrose

Image via Flickr from Dendroica cerulea

Four O’Clocks

Four o’clocks are fascinating plants – different colors can be found in the same flower, and color patterns can vary wildly from stripes to speckles to blotches. They also change color; the yellow ones turn pink as they age, and the white ones change to light violet. Besides changing colors, they are interesting because they bloom in late afternoon, hence the name four o’clocks. They exude a strong, sweet fragrance all night, then close in the morning. I think this is one of the most interesting ornamental flowers you can buy.

Four O´Clocks

Image via Flickr from Evelyn Avila

Sacred Datura

This perennial plant is native to the Southwestern United States and is sometimes considered a weed; sacred datura has many other names, such as Jimson weed, angel’s trumpet, and moon flower. In fact, the flowers are similar to that of the above-mentioned moon flower, but they are not related. The white, fragrant blooms are large, up to eight inches in diameter! Beware, because this beauty comes with a cost – all parts of this plant are deadly. The plant is sometimes ingested as a hallucinogenic drug and can cause severe physical damage and mental impairment if not death.

Sacred Datura

Image via Flickr from Zion National Park

Nottingham Catchfly

Live like a queen in a romantic night garden when you plant this fascinating flower! Nottingham catchfly covered the walls of Nottingham Castle, but that is not the only interesting fact about this flower. Nottingham catchfly blooms over a period of three nights, and each night, it opens different organs. It is said to smell like hyacinths.


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