Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Planting a Night-Scented Moon Garden

Full Moon through trees

In your own Moon garden, there are many plants that can be enjoyed during the evening for their beauty and perfume. Several white varieties seem to actually glow under moonlight and all plants with white blooms show up well in the night garden. Although traditional Moon Gardens are filled with white flowers, a mixture of colours is included here.
ANGEL'S TRUMPET (Datura inoxia var. Brugmansia syn)
Excellent Moon Garden plant with large showy pure white trumpet shaped flowers up to 8" long that open at night. Large spiny seed pods. Angela's Trumpet can be pruned to avoid it becoming straggly. The new apricot cultivars are just as fragrant and prolific as the white forms. Brugmansia x candida has white or light yellow, night-scented flowers up to 30cm long; 'Grand Marnier' and 'Knightii' are also excellent.

CHAMOMILE ( Matricaria chamomilla )
A gorgeous plant with fern-like foliage and white daisy-like flowers. The leaves make a relaxing bed-time tea.

CHOCOLATE COSMOS (Cosmos atrosanguineus )

Although it has brown flowers and doesn't stand out in the night garden, its perfume certainly will. Plant seedlings with the white flowering cosmos and the effect will be quite striking. The white blooms are also fragrant, but it's the chocolate ones that are the most fragrant. Cosmos are hardy annuals and stand up well even in dry conditions.
EVENING PRIMROSE (Oenothera biennis, Oenothera rosea)
A lovely plant that grows anywhere from 60cm to 2 metres (2 - 6 feet) tall, Evening Primrose has honey-scented blooms usually in satiny pinks, but also in yellows. The blooms deepen to a butter-yellow center during Spring and Summer. Evening Primrose is a spreading perennial with dull-green leaves. Flowers open in late afternoon to release soft fragrance and then close at dawn. Evening Primrose is easy to grow and likes hot Summers. Propagation is by division in Winter. Once established, this plant will self-seed each year. Problems include snails and aphids.

FEVERFEW (Matricaria capensis - Tanacetum parthenium (White Stars) - Chrysanthemum parthenium)
Feverfew is one of the mystical herbs mentioned in ancient folklore as it was believed to be helpful in curing a number of ailments from opium addiction to migraine headaches. It was also used in smelling salts to stop giddiness. The flowers are said to repel bees.

A very easily grown annual which makes a bush of aromatic, light green leaves, Feverfew is a native American herb with sprays of 1 inch single white daisy like flowers with flat yellow centres, growing to about 15 inches tall.

Although Feverfew can grow in almost any soil conditions, it likes a moist but well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade. Sow seeds inside or outside in the early Spring covering them lightly. When flowers begin to fade, trim plants back and fertilise to encourage further bloom. In mild-winter areas, plants will often live for a second year, and frequently self-sow.

FOUR o'CLOCK, MARVEL OF PERU Mirabilis jalapa

Four o'Clock is a tuberous-rooted perennial and a great survivor as it is often seen flourishing in neglected places. It makes a 60cm (2 feet) high bush of rather coarse mid-green foliage topped with masses of trumpet-shaped flowers which may be red, coral, pink or yellow, sometimes striped in two colours.

The flowers open in late afternoon and remain open all night, giving off a light sweet scent. Mirabilis jalapa flowers from late Summer through Autumn.

Plants are sensitive to frost, but in most areas they are very easy to grow. Simply plant them in any sort of soil, in sun or light shade, and cut down the spent foliage in late Autumn. Propagation is from root cuttings or seed in Spring. Plants often self-sow, sometimes so freely that they become a nuisance.
GIANT MOONFLOWER (Ipomea alba var.)

A fast growing vine related to the morning glory, this annual may climb to 10 feet. Tightly closed by day, its white flowers open at dusk to release a sweet fragrance. With 5-6" silky white flowers, the flowers can be seen very clearly in moonlight.

HONEYSUCKLE (Lonicera periclymenum - "Serotina Winchester")

Honeysuckle is highly fragrant after sunset and the "Serotina Winchester" variety flowers prolifically, the deep-pink-and-cream flowers merging into sunset-gold and red tones as they fade. It is heavily fragrant and looks beautiful growing over walls or trellises.

LADY-OF-THE-NIGHT Brunfelsia americana

Lady-of-the-Night has solitary night-scented flowers which are 8cm (3in) long. It is a West Indian native shrub with bushy, evergreen foliage and grows to about 2-4m (6-12') tall. From Summer to early Autumn it produces white flowers with light purple centres, which turn cream then gold as they age. The flowers are wonderfully fragrant, and the scent becomes stronger at night.

Lady-of-the-Night is frost sensitive and grows well in warm, frost-free coastal areas. The berries on brunfelsias have been known to poison dogs. They like rich, well-drained soil and adequate water during summer. Tip prune after flowering to keep the plant bushy.

NICOTIANA (Nicotiana sylvestris (Woodland/Mountain tobacco), Nicotiana Xsanderae, Nicotiana affinis)
The ornamental tobaccos are perennials, but are usually treated as annuals. They flower in colours of white, lavender, mauve, crimson and maroon, are sweetly scented, the fragrance particularly strong on warm evenings. The white flowered, tubular kinds (N. sylvestris) generally has the strongest perfume and grow on stems up to 5 ft tall. The sweet-scented, white flowers, flushed pink on the outer side, open only in the evening or during the cooler parts of the day.

Nicotiana likes full sun and well-drained soil. Water well until they are well established. The flowers form beautiful stars and bloom profusely from early Summer to early Autumn if in the right position. Sow in greenhouses for early flowering or in the open in Spring. Sticky backs of leaves can trap white flies.

Jasmine Tobacco is a very sweet scented flowering tobacco with pure white trumpet shaped flowers 3-4" long and 1-1/2" wide that open in the evening. It is free flowering. Seedlings sown in Autumn make great pot plants for growing during the winter.

Average garden soil is suitable and plants grow well in full sun or partial shade. Seed can be sown direct where plants are to grow, or started early under glass and transplanted when the weather is warm. The seed should be barely covered with soil. Flowering tobacco seeds are slow to germinate, but once plants start to grow, progress is rapid. Flowers are produced from mid-Summer until Autumn. Once established, plants often self-sow.

NIGHT-SCENTED CACTUS (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

Also known as Orchid Cactus, this rather rare plant has huge white flowers which open at dusk and fade the following morning. The plant itself is a tangle of thornless, flat and leafless pale green stems. The Night-scented Cactus flowers in flushes from late Spring to early Autumn and has a beautiful perfume.

It is normally grown in hanging baskets filled with orchid compost, but can be planted in well-composted soil in a lightly shaded position. Water and fertilise in Summer - it needs little other attention.
Preferring a subtropical climate, with no frost, the orchid cactus can be grown as an indoor plant in cooler areas.

NIGHT-SCENTED JASMINE (Cestrum nocturnum)

The "lady of the night" is a fast-growing, 3m tall shrub with mid-green leaves and showers of tiny, pale green flowers. Scentless by day, they are powerfully fragrant by night - too much so for some people and the oft-given advice that this shrub should be planted outside bedroom windows should be taken with caution.

Night-scented Jasmine flowers from late Spring to early Autumn. It prefers a frost-free climate, flourishing in almost any soil and position. It does, however, appreciate being watered in Summer. Prune hard in early Spring to keep the plant shapely. Propagation is from cuttings in Summer.
NIGHT-SCENTED JESSAMINE (Cestrum nocturnum, Cestrum parqui)

Powerfully scented creamy-white flowers, strongest at night or after rain. A frost-hardy evergreen which can grow to 3 metres (9 feet). This shrub has tubular, bright yellow-green flowers, to 2.5cm (1 inch) long, with star-shaped mouths. Night-scented Jessamine flowers from Summer to Autumn, followed by violet-brown berries. Flowering 2 to 3 times a year as long as the proper conditions are provided.


Sweetly night scented flowers of green, black and creamy white. This plant has a tuberous root system with deeply cut foliage.

(Pelargonium gibbosum)

Night scented, yellow-green flowers. Glaucous, succulent stem with swollen joints. Grey-green, glabrous leaf.

NIGHT-SCENTED STOCK (Matthiola bicormis - m. longipetala)

Night-scented stock is a rather straggly annual and has such insignificant pink and white flowers but such a sweet, heady clove-like scent after dark. It is little valued for its appearance but treasured for its very fragrant flowers which open in the evening and scent the garden. Night-scented stock grows from 25cm - 40 cm (10-15 inches) producing lilac-pink, deep purple to magenta, and white flowers.

Easily grown in an average to moderately rich garden soil, it prefers a sunny position. Seed can be sown direct where the plants are to grow if the soil is carefully prepared, or started in seed trays under glass and transplanted when big enough to handle. Sowings can be made in Autumn for late Winter and Spring flowers, and in Spring for Summer flowers. The latter is recommended where Winters are very cold. Water regularly as flowering is apt to stop if the plants dry out. Plants grow best in cool weather and have a remarkably long blooming season.
PETUNIAS (Petunia axillaris formerly Petunia nyctaginiflora)

Discovered in South America in 1823, this petunia has intensely night-scented, large white flowers. Petunias are a genus of perennial herbs in the nightshade family and are tough, heat tolerant plants. Petunias flourish in full sun, but they will grow adequately in part shade.

PURE WHITE CONEFLOWER - WHITE SWAN (Echinacea angustifolia - Echinacea purpurea )

A lovely pure white version of Echinacea purpurea that bears fragrant white coneflowers. Very hardy summer bloomer that will grow to 60cm (2 feet). Great for cut flowers. Remove old flower heads to increase flowering. Flowers appear during Summer and it requires full sun to part shade in a well drained soil.

SNOW WHITE CARNATION ( Dianthus caryophyllus)

Probably the whitest carnations you will ever see. An excellent cut flower, they also make wonderful bedding and border plants growing to about 75cm tall. These carnations have spicy-sweet, rich fragrance. All climates are suitable and they can be planted any time in sun and fertile, well drained soil, preferably slightly alkaline.

SPIDER FLOWER (Cleome hassleriana (syn. C. spinosa)

The Spider Flower is an annual that loves heat and humidity. Growing to at least 1.5 metres in height, its perfume rises as the sun sets. It has concealed spines on its stems, making it an excellent barrier plant to stop uninvited guests. They have huge (6 inch) complex flowers in pink, burgundy, lilac and white. The white bushes are a little lacking in the vigour of the lilac and burgundy flowering bushes. Attracting moths and butterflies to your garden, it is ideal for the back of the border. It prefers full sun to light shade and average, well-drained soil. It self-sows readily.

SPIDER FLOWER (Grevillea biternata)

A low-growing evergreen shrub from Western Australia, often used as a ground cover. It has prickly, pale green leaves and clusters of cream flowers. They have a strong, heavy fragrance which some people find overpowering. Sniff before your buy! There are many other species of grevillea, but most are scentless.
The Spider Flower blooms in late Spring and temperate climates are preferred. In cooler areas, young plants require protection from frosts. When planted in the sun in a well-drained soil, it will be happy when watered during Summer and very dry spells. Prune back any long branches that rise above the carpet of foliage. Cuttings should be taken in Summer. The only problem with the Spider Flower is that plants are often short-lived in humid summer climates.

SUMMER PHLOX (Phlox paniculata)

Also known as Perennial Phlox, the foliage is undistinguished, but the big domes of wide-open flowers are spectacular, coming in a wide range of colours except for yellow or gold. Flowering during Summer, they prefer light shade as strong sun will bleach the flowers. Fragrant both day and night, it tends to emit more scent at night when the cool air allows it to open up fully. Water regularly (overhead not recommended) but be aware that powdery mildew and leaf-spot can be a problem.

Propagation is by division or root cuttings in Winter.

SWEET ALYSSUM (Lobularia maritima)

Sweet Alyssum is an easy, fast-growing annual, with sweet-smelling white blooms. Flowering from June until September, deadheading will promote further flowering. Sweet Alyssum needs light to germinate. It also prefers to be kept moist but will tolerate drought and heat. If overfed, you will get more foliage than flowers.

SWEET ROCKET (Hesperis matronalis)

Also known as Dame's Rocket, this plant has sweetly scented flowers in the evening. Colours include a delicate white or lavender-lilac. Sweet rocket is a common plant, often growing on roadsides. It blooms throughout Summer and grows to 75cm (just over 2 feet). Sweet Rocket is very hardy and can be grown in full sun to partial shade in a well drained soil and will naturalise if let go to seed. Sweet Rocket needs a steady water supply and deadheading will encourage a second blooming session.

WALLFLOWER - MOONLIGHT (Erysimum cheiri)

"Moonlight" is a new cream flowering "Wallflower" that is light enough to be seen in the evening, as well as having a delicious exotic perfume at night. "Moonlight" will flower from early Spring through to Summer.
WAX PLANT, Wax Flower, Porcelain Flower Hoya carnosa

The Wax Plant likes climbing or hanging to 20 feet or more outdoors. The flowers are star-shaped and waxy, pure white in species, varietiess in pink and red in cultivars. They prefer a sunny, light position, with cool to average temperatures and a well-drained soil. Pests and problems include leaf fall from overwatering; scale, mealybugs (common), aphids. Propagation is by stem cuttings, layering and tissue culture.

WHITE CANDYTUFT (Iberis sempervirens)
White Candytuft has beautiful large trusses of brilliant white flowers on sturdy stems in dense multiple clusters which appear in Spring. It is very easy to raise and its seeds germinate in about 10 days. A very popular and useful perennial which forms a low and compact mat of dark green leaves. Soil should be slightly alkaline and well-drained. Several hours of sunlight each day will produce the best blooms. Some recommended cultivars are 'Alexander's White', 'Purity' and 'Snowflake'.


The satin white, daisy-shaped flowers with gold dust centers glow in the dimming light of evening. White Cosmos is a compact and free-flowering variety. Seeds take between 10-15 days to germinate and require full sun. Prefers light, moderately dry soil.


A beautiful annual, self-sowing plant growing to about 36 in. tall with clouds of white flowers often in clusters 6 inches or more across. Excellent as a cut flower or as a filler in bouquets. Seeds need light to germinate. Seedlings will appear in about two weeks. White Dill requires full sun and a neutral, well-drained soil. Ammi majus will become drought-tolerant once established.

The foliage of this plant is very white and fine leafed. Good compact growth. A different looking dusty miller that will stand out in your garden. Sow seeds on surface, germinates in about 2 weeks.


These Pages Created using Arachnophilia (CareWare). Arachnophilia logo

To Lunar Gardening - Planting by the Moon's Phases

Back to Gardening Index

Home - Dreaming Dove's Home Page

Page Border supplied by Border by Nature Graphics

© 2000 All Rights Reserved.