While many flowers look their best in bright sunshine and can be enjoyed throughout the day, there are a number of plants that come into their own after the sun has set and the moon is high in the night sky. For some of these plants the silvery moonlight heightens their charms and others exude their strongest fragrance after dark. I came across this article by Lindsay Sheehan on the Natural Living Ideas website which describes these twenty plants for a moonlight garden.
Often, gardens are planned with only the daytime in mind. Under the light of the sun, many plants show off their rich colors, gorgeous textures, and stunning shapes. A world in miniature, this is typically the time of day when the garden is abuzz with activity ? the birds are singing, the bees are darting from flower to flower, the butterflies are basking in the sunshine, and the breeze is heavy with delectable fragrances. But if you are like most Americans, you are far and away from this daylight ambrosia between the hours of nine and five and are missing out on the prime time of garden pleasures, perhaps only relishing it on the weekends.
And yet, the garden doesn?t necessarily slumber as soon as the sun disappears beneath the horizon. Under the celestial realm, a whole different cast of creatures alight the scene. Long into the night, chorusing cicadas and crickets, honking geese and basso toads, break up the stillness of the evening, while the understated beauty of the luna moth, along with bats, owls, and fireflies, flit and flap about. Plants, too, have nocturnal habits, and there are many that spring to life after dusk.
Moonlit gardens are a wonderful option for those who prefer to take their evenings outdoors ? dining al fresco, entertaining, or taking serene strolls through the backyard landscape ? while still enjoying the captivating wonder of glowing foliage, textures that play on light and shadow, and intensely sweet aromas.
Creating a moonlight garden is all about selecting plants that make their presence known after dusk. Between flowers that only begin to bloom in the twilight, fragrant plants that deepen their scent into the night, and foliage and blossoms that will brighten under the moon, there are many choices you can make to add night-time interest to your outdoor spaces. Rather than carving out a solitary area for these nocturnal curiosities, it?s best to pepper them throughout your garden landscapes to foster a good balance between day and night plants.
Shy during the day, these plants wait until night falls before opening up and showing off their beautiful blooms.
1. Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
A member of the morning glory family, moonflower is a twinning vine that originated in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Blooming 5-inch wide pure white flowers, moonflower is the nocturnal counterpart to the morning glory, with fragrant blooms that open after dusk and close at dawn.
Hardiness: USDA zones 8a to 11
Light Requirement: Full sun
Height / Spread: 6 to 15 feet
Attracts: Hummingbirds and moths
2. Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
As its name implies, evening primrose flowers only bloom after dusk. The common variety features large yellow flowers that emit a lemony fragrance, but Oenothera speciosa ranges from dark pink to white. While evening primrose oil is known for its medicinal properties, the plant?s fleshy, succulent roots are edible and its seeds can be used for bird feed.
Hardiness: USDA zones 5a to 8b
Light Requirements: Full sun
Height: Up to 3 feet
Spread: From 8 inches to 2 feet
Attracts: Birds, butterflies, bees, moths
Go to the next page to see more of these plants that are ideal for a moonlight garden.