The Q&A Archives: Plants That Bloom At Night?

Question: I live in San Jose, Ca. Is there something that I can plant
that will bloom at night? My friend has something that
only bloom at night.

Answer: There are a number of night blooming plants, and most have white or light colored blossoms with strong fragrances to attract pollinating moths. In your gardening zone you can plant the following night blooming plants:
Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia suaveolens), a tropical summer bloomer, with stunning, fragrant flowers in white, yellow and pink. It has a fragrance during the day, but it's even stronger at night.

An epiphytic orchid whose white flowers have a heavy vanilla perfume is the Brassavola nodosa, native to Central and South America. There it grows on trees; here you can grow it on a small piece of bark, which it wraps its aerial roots around. It needs warm day temperatures of around 70 degrees and night temperatures of 60 degrees, along with humidity and free air flow.

The perennial tropical moon flower vine (Ipomoea alba), in the morning glory family, is a fast-growing vine (20-30 feet in one season). It produces 6-inch funnel-shaped fragrant white blooms that open after sundown and into the night. It grows very well over a trellis, an arbor or a fence, providing shade where necessary.

A tropical bulb and a summer bloomer, the Peruvian daffodil (Hymenocallis narcissiflora), comes, as the name implies, from the Peruvian Andes. It has lily-type white flowers in clusters of two to five. Its fragrance is strongest at dawn and dusk.

The flowering tobacco plant (Nicotiana alata N. affinis) is a wild species that re-seeds itself, growing 2 to 3 feet tall, sometimes even 6 feet under ideal growing conditions. It bears large, intensely jasmine-scented white flowers that open toward evening. We now have many garden varieties and hybrids that stay open day and night.

Hope these suggestions help you find just the right plant for your garden!

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