How to Grow a Night Garden

Add a little nightlife to your landscape with flowers and foliage that give off beautiful fragrances.

Purple Nicotiana

Purple Nicotiana

Nicotiana, or flowering tobacco, gives off fragrance in the evening.

Do you want to add romance and mystery to your landscape? Don't have time to garden during the day? If so, a night garden can solve both problems.

For Erica Powell-Zinn, running the family nursery business means long hours, and occasionally the chance to do what she loves most - garden. But the 12- to 16-hour days tending to the garden at work leave her little time to work in her own garden.

So if you're ready to start your own night garden, Powell-Zinn suggests using these plants, among others:

  • Brachycome or white impatiens
  • Lamb's ear (Stachys)
  • Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana)
  • Meadow rue (Thalictrum)
  • Star jasmine (Jasminum nitidum)


Plants which bloom or release their fragrances only at night belong to a "noctiflora" group. But there are many other plants perfectly suited for an evening garden. Light flowers or foliage found on plants like bacopa, aromatic honeysuckle, lamb's ear, gardenias, nemesia, partridge feather (Tanacetum densum) and verbascum all suit evening gardens.

Powell-Zinn says having the moon in the right spot definitely lights up the garden, but moonlight is definitely not required. You can add your own lighting, including candles, torches or simple landscaping lights.

When maintaining an evening garden, you might want to spend a little more time deadheading the spent flowers. This will encourage more flowers to bloom, which in turn means more night color in your garden. And more night color will beckon you to relax in a garden custom-made for the stars.

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