As the sun sets and the moon rises, most flowers close up until dawn--but not all of them. A few flowers wait until dark to open. These night owls benefit from the fact that there is less competition for insects at night, which increases their chance of being pollinated. But its not only insects that enjoy these midnight bloomers; many gardeners have also learned the importance of planting a garden they can enjoy all day and all night.
Night Blooming Cereus
The night-blooming cereus is a name given to two different species, both of which produce nocturnal flowers: the Queen of the Night (Selenicereus grandiflorus) and the Dutchman's Pipe (Epiphyllum oxypetalum). Both are large cacti that produce 8- to 12-inch white flowers. The Queen of the Night produces flowers with a distinct vanilla scent but blooms only one night a year and lives only six hours. The flowers of the Dutchman's Pipe last longer and can open from spring through fall. It is also easier to find in your local nursery. Both varieties require full sun and a well-draining soil. They are hearty in USDA Zones 10 through 12.
The Evening Primrose (Oenothera lamarckiana) is tall biennial plant native to the United States. Its 2-inch flowers begin blooming from May through June and can be yellow, white or pink. Plants can grow up to 8 feet tall and are hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9. Plant in a well-draining soil in full sun.
Moonflowers (Ipomoea alba) are the night-loving cousins of Morning Glories. Moonflowers are fast-growing, annual vines that produce 6-inch-wide, pure white, trumpet-shaped flowers. Flowers begin opening at sunset and have a wonderful fragrance. It is hardy in USDA Zones 9 through 11. Planted in full to part sun in a moist but not soggy soil.
The flowering tobacco or nicotiana (Nicotiana spp.) is an annual plant that can grow up to 5 feet tall, depending on the variety. The trumpet-shaped flowers vary in color and are more fragrant at night. They bloom in the late summer and are known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Plant it in full sun in rich, well-draining soil. It is hardy in USDA Zones 9 through 11.
Night Blooming Jasmine
The night blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) has delicate white flowers with a powerful scent that bloom from late spring until the fall. Plants can grow 6 to 10 feet tall with a similar width. It should be planted in full or part sun in USDA Zones 9 through 11. Soil needs to be well-draining but consistently moist.