Flowers That Bloom At Night

Have you ever wanted to grow a moon garden?  Imagine being able to transform an ordinary gathering of friends and family into an intimate party everyone will remember for years. Your patio lights up the summer evening with colorful night blooming flowers. Your guests marvel as flowers open right before their eyes…relish the intoxicating aroma, while fireflies dance and twinkle overhead.  It’s an atmosphere nothing short of enchanted.

Or simply imagine enjoying some peace and quiet while your own moon garden comes to life after a hectic, sweltering summer’s day.

Flowers that bloom at night are an easy way to add romance to your backyard and spice up summer nights.  Their delicate petals and sweet aromas remind you of a tropical paradise oceans away.

Night blooming flowers come in a range of colors, from pure snow white to dusty pink…even bright yellows and oranges. Some grow best along the edges of patios while others will surprise you with splashes of color while nestled away in corners, blooms spilling over the edges of their containers.

Flowers that bloom late in the day or early in the evening need pollinators to notice them. And these flowers have some extraordinary features to do whatever is necessary to attract attention to their blooms. In most cases this means enticing fragrances and blooms that contrast with the surrounding foliage. Moonflowers will often have dark green leaves and bright white flowers,or they will release a strong aroma when they open up each night that is noticeable even several feet away. Although most night blooming flowers are trying to attract moths, humans can’t help but be attracted too.

Here is a list of plants that have flowers that bloom at night:

Angel's Trumpet -- great in a container

Angel’s Trumpet. This member of the nightshade family is prized not only for its large flowers, but also for its perfumed scent. Angel’s Trumpet is available in a wide range of colors: soft pink, white with vivid purple edges, and creamy honey yellow.
Angel’s Trumpet is hardy to zone 9.  But you can still enjoy the benefits of this plant if you grow it in a container. Just bring it inside and let it rest in the basement or keep it blooming in front of a sunny window. These plants need a fair amount of maintenance in order to retain their beauty. Fertilize once a week, and water every day to keep the soil moist, but not water logged. They will also need to be pruned if they’re not going to outgrow their container. Pruning helps give Angel’s Trumpet a fuller look and increases blooming.

***A word to the wise: this plant is extremely toxic.  If you are going to grow these around young children, be sure to explain that no part of the plant should ever be eaten.***


Evening Primrose- low maintainance once established in the garden

Evening Primrose.  This delicate flower may look finicky, but it requires little care.  They can be grown from seed or rhizome.  If you are growing evening primroses from seed, be sure to start them extra early, as they can take weeks before germinating.  But once established in the garden, they do quite well on their own year after year if left to reseed themselves.  Evening Primroses are available in various shades from white, to pink, to yellow.  These plants grow one to two feet high and two or three feet wide.   They will generally reach peak bloom during late spring and early summer.  If you deadhead (remove dead and wilted flowers) them, they might have a second bloom.

These flowers are a great option for growing in flower beds and they make a great ground cover.  But keep an eye on them — not because they are temperamental and prone to diseases, but because they can easily take over the entire flower bed, yard, and neighborhood.

The flowers of evening primrose have a classic fresh smell that can only be described as ‘spring’!  Gardeners can enjoy these flowers in a wide range of growing conditions: they are hardy from zones 4 through 8.  They will also tolerate a number of different soil types, depending on the variety of evening primrose.  Just be sure to give them plenty of sunlight during the day.


Marvel of Peru -- sometimes called four o'clocks

The Marvel of Peru are perennials in sub-tropical regions but can easily be grown as an annual in most places.  They benefit from rich topsoil.  So if your soil has low amounts of nutrients be sure to add fertilizer once a month.  To grow these flowers as an annual, sow seeds in mid spring and cover with compost.  Or you can start them indoors and transplant them after the last frost. If the flowers are not deadheaded, the seeds will propagate themselves and come back next year.   Be sure to plant them in an area that gets plenty of sun during the day. They grow three to four feet tall, and need about a foot and a half between plants.  Like most night blooming flowers, these smell great.

The Marvel of Peru is sometimes called the Four O’clock.  Named for the approximate time each afternoon when they start to open up.  They will stay open all night long and close again in mid-morning.  While they are open they will offer a dazzling range of colors to your night garden — from deep purple, to orange, to yellow, to white.  Some varieties will have two colors per flower, with each flower being a little different from the next.


Other Flowers That Bloom at Night List

  • Night Blooming Jasmine
  • Night Blooming Water Lily
  • Moonflowers
  • Night Gladiolus
  • Cassablanca Lily
  • Night Blooming Cereus