Outdoor spaces allow you to extend the enjoyment of your home beyond its four walls and out onto the rest of your property—by both day and night. Enhance your outdoor living by planting a moon garden—a garden that's meant to be enjoyed in the evening, filled with flowers that bloom well into the night.
Oenothera biennis, commonly known as evening primrose, has sweet yellow flowers and is prolific throughout the United States. Native to North America, this wildflower blooms at night from May to July and is known to have a variety of medicinal uses.
Moonflower (Datura species) is both fragrant and exotic. Its large, white trumpet-shaped flowers unfurl at night and reflect the moon’s light. And while many varieties of moonflower have an alluring lemon scent, they are poisonous and should be planted well away from areas where children and pets play.
Tiarella cordifolia, also called foamflower, loves shade and makes a lovely addition to a woodland garden or walking path. Low maintenance and easy to grow from seed, foamflower’s blooming spikes of spidery flowers add evening interest to the yard and return year after year.
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Casa Blanca Lily
The Casa Blanca lily (Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’), like all lilies, makes a bold statement in the garden. It blooms well into the season and tolerates many soil types and conditions. The Casa Blanca variety is unique in that it blooms in the evening, with its pure white flowers reflecting light from the moon for a garden that truly shines.
Blooming from dusk until dawn, four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) are an old-fashioned favorite. Available in a great variety of colors, from yellows to purples and even stripes, they are easy to grow from seed and reach two to three feet tall. Enjoy these annuals from midsummer to frost, or if you live in a warmer winter climate, expect to see these flowers return year after year.
Native to Mexico, tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a night bloomer with a heavenly scent. It produces a long flowering spike that can reach four feet tall, festooned in white, waxy, fragrant blooms. Its flowers attract as much attention for the way they reflect the moonlight on summer evenings as they do for their exceptional aroma.
Cestrum nocturnum, or night-blooming jasmine, isn’t actually jasmine, but rather a tropical nightshade. Its tiny, fragrant, white flowers bloom against a backdrop of dark, leathery green leaves. Plant this shrub close to a porch, patio, or window, where you can enjoy its heady scent during the summer evenings.
Angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia) is happiest growing in zones 8 through 11 but can be grown farther north if brought indoors for winter. It’s worth the work. The plant—which is, by the way, highly poisonous—puts on a show of dramatic, peach-colored, bell-shaped flowers all season long, and the fragrance is appealing.
Flowering tobacco, also known as Nicotiana, is a colorful addition to a planting bed. Available in pinks, reds, whites, and even pale green, this flower is a perfect pick for a moon garden, Nicotiana’s strong scent will attract hummingbird moths at night, when its flowers open to provide a nectar buffet for hungry animals.
This flowering cactus grows natively in the southwestern United States, specifically the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and can be trained to climb up a trellis outdoors or potted up as an easy-care houseplant. Cereus flowers are large and white and start blooming after the plant is about 5 years old. You’ll have to wait until the sun goes down to see the blooms, which fully open around midnight and exude a sweet fragrance. Come morning light, Cereus flowers droop and die. If pollinated, however, the flowers produce a sweet edible fruit.
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