The Q&A Archives: Night Blooming Plants

Question: What is the correct name for this plant? It produces okra like pod that bloom only at night to produce a pure white lilly-like bloom that wilts as soon as the sun rises. Does it produce seeds that can be harvested to use next year?

Answer: You didn't describe the leaves or the plant, so I'm guessing it belongs to one of the categories below. My guess is that it's Datura, but you should be able to sort out the plant's true identity from the following descriptions:
The flowers of the Night-blooming Cereus, though they only last one night, may grow to a diameter of 12 inches across! This is an upright and branching cactus which will grow to a height of 3 feet. Grows more quickly than most cacti and produces truly amazing flowers. Good choice for a tropical moon garden where the white blossoms can shine when the moon is full. Needs well-drained soil and full sun or part shade.
Another showy plant is the Blazing Star (Mentzelia decapetala). Its 4-inch-wide blossoms are reminiscent of white or gold lilies on bushy 2-foot-high plants. Thriving in poor soil, this beauty is at home in any garden. It is a biennial (it flowers the second year, then dies) that should be allowed to drop seed for a new crop after the long blooming period.

Another group of delightful patio plants are the Daturas and Brugmansias. They have many common names, from Jimson Weed and Moon Lily to Angel's Trumpet and Sacred Datura. The Daturas are bushy 2- to 3-foot plants with upward facing 4- to 6-inch wide, trumpet-shaped blossoms that, when opening at dusk, emit a cloud of the sweetest fragrance known.

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