15+ Flowers That Bloom at Night (Ideal for a Moon Garden)

Most of the flowers open in the daylight and lose their vigor as the sun sets. So, as you wind up work to enjoy your evenings in the garden, the flowers have already signed off for the day. To cherish some colorful blossoms even in the dark, you can think of a moon garden.

Nature offers a plethora of colorful blossoms that bloom after dusk in the moonlight. They also give off a divine fragrance to create an inviting ambiance to enjoy your evening coffee. Since the ancient Chinese era, moon gardens have been used as places of meditation.

For better growth of the plants, you should place them in a spot that receives plenty of moonlight. Just be a little cautious with children and pets, as most of these plants are toxic.

White Flowers That Only Bloom at Night

1. Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa)

Tuberose

Tuberose is best known for its uses in perfumes. So, if you are looking for a night-blooming flower with a strong, inviting fragrance, this can be a good choice. Native to Mexico, this perennial displays elongated spikes of white, waxy, funnel-shaped flowers. The intensely scented blossoms rise well above the clump of grass-like leaves. It performs best in moist, organically rich, well-drained soil when placed under full sun.

Blooming Season: Summer, fall

Height/Spread: 24-36 inches/ 24-36 inches

USDA Zone: 7-11

2. Casa Blanca Lily (Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’)

Casa Blanca Lily

Cultivated for its sweet fragrance and captivating beauty, this variety produces large, luminous white flowers that look stunning in bouquets and flower arrangements with contrasting deep red anthers. Though it needs to get the sun to blossom at night, it prefers its roots to be in a shaded area. However, while these dazzling flowers are enjoyably fragrant and easy to grow, they are toxic to pets. For healthy growth, pot it in well-drained soil, where it can get full sun to partial shade.

Blooming Season: Mid to late summer

Height/Spread: 3-4 feet/1-3 feet

USDA Zone: 5-8

3. Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

Cape Jasmine

Belonging to the coffee family, this evergreen plant mostly thrives in tropical and subtropical regions. It produces clusters of tubular, waxy, and white to yellow flowers that unfurl during the night hours and continue to exude the signature gardenia scent the following day as well. It flourishes best in acidic, well-drained soil and locations that receive full sun to partial shade.

Blooming Season: Spring, summer, fall

Height/Spread: 3-4 feet/3-4 feet

USDA Zone: 7-11

4. Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

Queen of the Night

Belonging to the cactus family, this perennial variety blossoms rarely, maybe once per year, and that too for a night only. It flowers at night and wilts in the morning. As these flowers are short-lived, you need to be really attentive to not miss them. The gorgeous white flowers are produced on a beautiful green vine, having soft spikes. The flowers have a sweet smell and can be up to nine inches in diameter when fully open. Like many succulent plants, this one performs best in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil.

Blooming Season: Late spring

Height: 6-9 feet

USDA Zone: 10-11

Colorful Flowers That Open at Night

1. Evening Primrose (Oenthera biennis)

Evening Primrose

Native to North America, this biennial plant is known for its bright yellow lemon-scented flowers and hairy leaves. The flowers bloom in the evening and stay open until noon the following day. It is easy to grow and displays brilliant yellow, pink, or white cups or goblets. This low-maintenance and drought-tolerant species needs little watering. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

Color: Yellow, golden, pink, white

Blooming Season: Spring, summer, and fall

Height/Spread: 6-12 inches/8-24 inches

USDA Zone: 3-11

2. Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

Moonflower

Also called tropical white morning glory, this vining perennial displays large, trumpet-shaped flowers that unfurl during the evening and remain open until the sun rises. It also gives off a lemony fragrance when its flowers are open. When placed in full sun, it thrives in moist, well-drained, and acidic to neutral soil. While the nocturnal blooms of moonflower are certainly breathtaking, its gray-green leaves are another attractive feature.

Color: White, purple

Blooming Season: Summer, fall

Height/Spread: 12-36 inches/ 36-95 inches

USDA Zone: 10-12

3. Datura (Datura stramonium)

Datura

Datura, commonly referred to as devil’s trumpet, features large, showy, trumpet-shaped blossoms that unfurl after the twilight and close back during the morning of the following day. It prefers full sun to partial shade, enjoying well-draining sandy soil. Datura is highly poisonous. So it should be planted with caution and kept out of reach from children or pets.

Color: White, purple

Blooming Season: Fall, spring, summer

Height: 24-60 inches

USDA Zone: 8-12

4. Night-Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)

Night-Blooming Jasmine

Grown primarily for its pleasant fragrance, this intoxicating tropical shrub offers clusters of small greenish-white non-showy flowers along with dense, glossy green foliage. This broadleaf evergreen shrub requires full sun or partial shade and moist, well-drained, light, sandy soil for optimum growth.

Color: Green, white, yellow, pink

Blooming Season: Summer

Height/Spread: 8-10 feet/2-3 feet

USDA Zone: 8-11

5. Four O’Clock (Mirabilis jalapa)

Four O’Clock

Bushy flowering perennial, commonly named based on the time it blooms. Its flowers bloom in the late afternoon, typically around 4 p.m. or so, and remain open until the next morning. The flowers are 2-inch-long and trumpet-shaped with five petals. This plant possesses a unique quality of producing different colored flowers, often on the same plant. It thrives well in acidic to neutral, moist, well-drained soil.

Color: Pink, white, red, yellow

Blooming Season: Summer, fall

Height/Spread: 2-3 feet/2-3 feet

USDA Zone: 9-11

6. Chocolate Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata)

Chocolate Daisy

This perennial North American native boasts daisy-like flowers adorned with yellow petals surrounded by a dramatic maroon central disc. The flowers bloom at night, releasing their heavenly chocolate scent until the next morning.  This easy-caring plant prefers full sun and grows perfectly in well-drained sandy soil.

Color: Yellow

Blooming Season: Spring, summer, fall

Height/Spread: 1-2 feet/1-2 feet

USDA Zone: 4-10

7. Night Gladiolus (Gladiolus tristis)

Night Gladiolus

Another pleasant nocturnal bloom that also prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Its light-yellow flowers are cherished for their spicy fragrance.

Color: Yellow

Blooming Season: Summer

Height/Spread: 4-5 feet/4-5 inches

USDA Zone: 7-8

8. Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata)

Flowering Tobacco

Native to South America, this beautiful ornamental plant can add a splash of color to the garden. It blooms late afternoon or early evening, giving off a strong scent that makes it a perfect pick for a moon garden. The plant features fuzzy, sticky foliage with clusters of blooms. Like other nocturnal varieties, flowering tobacco also prefers full sun to partial shade.

Color: White, red, pink, yellow

Blooming Season: Summer, fall

Height/Spread: 3-5 feet/1-2 feet

USDA Zone: 10-11

9. Brugmansia

Brugmansia

Commonly known as Angel’s trumpets, this genus of night-blooming flowers consists of 7 different species, with varied shades of dangling, trumpet-shaped flowers. Native to South America, the pendulous, downward-facing, bell-shaped blooms of these plants emit a pleasing scent that becomes more intense as the night progresses. These easy-to-grow herbaceous perennials prefer moist, well-drained soil and full sun.

Color: Yellow, pink, white, orange

Blooming Season: Summer, fall

Height/Spread: 15-20 feet/2-4 feet

USDA Zone: 8-10

10. Night Phlox (Zaluzianskya capensis)

Night Phlox

Also known as the midnight sweet or the 12 o’clock, this South Africa native displays magnificent white and purple flowers that only open at dusk and remain closed throughout the day. The name midnight sweet or midnight candy is attributed to its sweet smell that resembles the fragrance of almond, honey, and vanilla. It requires very little water and grows best in full sun or partial shade.

Color: Red, purple, white

Blooming Season: Summer, fall

Height/Spread: 1-2 feet/5-6 inches

USDA Zone: 9-10

11. Night Blooming Water Lilies

Night Blooming Water Lilies

These water lilies can be a great addition to any medium to large pond, bog, or water garden. They usually bloom at dusk and stay open throughout the night, closing in the morning. Their fragrant flowers come in varied hues of pink, red and purple, spreading up to seven to ten inches. Accented with flat, bronze leaves, these flowers make a bright, colorful contrast with the dark, glassy surface of the water.

Color: Red, pink, white

Blooming Season: Summer, fall

Height/Spread: 6-10 inches/8-10 feet

USDA Zone: 10-11

A Few Special Mentions

  • Night-Scented Orchid
  • Dragon Fruit Flower
  • Red Flare Water Lily
  • Angel’s Trumpet
  • Flowering Tobacco
  • Foamflower
  • Mock Orange
  • Jimsonweed
  • Rain Lilies
  • Japanese Wisteria
  • Smooth Hydrangea

Why Do These Flowers Bloom at Night

Are you wondering why there are certain plants that only bloom at night? Well, let’s see what goes behind.

Nature works in a tricky way. As you have seen, when you were unable to enjoy the blooms during the day, nature offered you some of these majestic beauties that you can cherish in the late hours. Similarly, pollinators of some plants become active during the night. They are the agents that help to propagate the plants. In this case, these pollinators are moths, which tend to come out after the sun sets. The heavenly smells of these nocturnal blooms attract their respective pollinators, and the cycle of life goes on.

Best Night-flowering Plants to Pick Based on What You Need

Best Fragrant Night-blooming Flowers: Angel’s trumpet, Night phlox, Star jasmine

Best Pink-Purple Night-blooming Flowers: Angel’s trumpet, Petunia, Flowering tobacco

Best Red Night-blooming Flowers: Four O’clock, ‘Red Flare’ water lily

Best Yellow Flowers That Bloom at Night: Chocolate daisy, Evening primrose, Angel’s trumpet

by | Updated : December 8, 2021



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