Plant night-blooming flowers and you will experience a whole new world of gardening when the sun goes down. The sweet scent and light coloration of the blooms reflecting moonlight can attract bats and moths that pollinate the plants in the dark of night. As an added benefit, one hungry bat can eliminate up to 600 mosquitoes in a single hour.
The moonflower vine (Ipomoea alba), a cousin of the morning glory, opens its huge, sweet-smelling, 5- to 6-inch white blooms at dusk so the flowers can be pollinated by moths, and after sunrise, the flowers close.The fast-growing vines of the moonflower plant are covered with large heart-shaped leaves. Moonflower, a tropical plant, grows in warm, humid climates, but can be treated as an annual in cooler climates.
Night phlox is a night-blooming annual with upright stems bearing tightly closed clusters of delicate flowers that pop open at dusk, releasing a sweet fragrance similar to that of almonds or vanilla. The flowers of night phlox are pure white on the inside and dark maroon on the outside. Night phlox requires well-drained soil and should be exposed to full sunlight during the day.
Four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa) is a fast-growing, low-maintenance perennial that will unfurl its colorful trumpet-shaped blooms in late afternoon, releasing a sweet aroma very similar to jasmine. The blooms, available in shades of yellow, pink, red, rose and white, grow atop a bushy plant that can reach heights of 2 to 3 feet at maturity. Four o' clock is a sturdy plant that can grow in even poor soil.
Nicotiana (Nicotiana sylvestris) also known as flowering tobacco, is a fast-growing, plant that will dangle creamy white blooms from its graceful branches. The flowers of the nicotiana plant will be tightly closed in bright sunlight, but will open in late afternoon, and by evening, will perfume the air with their sweet aroma. Nicotiana, which grows to heights of 1 to 3 feet or more, grows best in partial shade.