We’re used to selecting plants to adorn our surroundings according to how much sun or shade they prefer.
But some flowers wait until the sun sets to truly shine.
These are the florae whose late (in the day) blooms emit intoxicating scents perfect for luring night pollinators, and, if they’re lucky, people who’ve discovered the peaceful pleasures and sensory delights of a garden at night.
More people are discovering the pleasure of enjoying the fruits of their gardening labors after dark, when the air is cooler, and the busy rush of day is past.
For horticulturalist Heather Wheatley at Homestead Gardens, a moon garden makes perfect sense for people working from sun up to sun down, lacking the time to enjoy the outdoor sanctuaries they created.
One of her favorite moonlight delights is the Yucca, a member of the Agave family, whose flower blooms in the evening and attracts its own pollinator, the tiny yucca or pronuba moth.
Another is Night Phlox (Zaluzianskya)—one variety is nicknamed “Midnight Candy.”
White flowers which reflect moonlight make up the main palette element, but often they are tinged with touches of pink, gray and other accent hues.
“There’s a range of shades from light to deeper with a variety of textures,” Wheatley added.
Homestead horticulturalists also recommend, no surprise here, Coreopsis “Moonbeam,” which becomes iridescent after dark, Moonflower, Four O’Clock, Jasmine, Tuberose and Casablanca Lily, as well as Shasta Daisy and “Silver Fog” Euphorbia.
Still, others include:
• Hydrangea “Limelight” (Hydrangea paniculata);
• Rose Mallow “Luna Blush” (Hibiscus moscheutos);
• Rose of Sharon “White Chiffon” (Hibiscus syriacus);
• Crapemyrtle “Acoma” (Lagerstroemia indica);
• Phlox “David” (Phlox paniculata);
• Speedwell “Icicle” (Veronica spicata);
• White Cleome (Cleome hassleriana);
• Silver Mound (Artesmia schmidtiana);
• Lily “Sunny Salawesi” (Lilium);
• Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris); and
• Canna Lily ‘Tropical White’ (Canna x generalis).
For special effects, consider plants and shrubs with silvery foliage, plus trees with contrasting colors of exfoliating bark such as birches, maples, and pines, subtly reflecting shadows. Remember grasses to rustle in the evening breeze, some gently flowing water, and a path crafted from shimmery oyster shell.