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July 16, 2012

Night-Scented Flowers

- by Debra Anchors

Odorless by day, their fragrance at night is intoxicating.

If you spend time during the evening in the garden, or if you have the window open as you sleep, you would really enjoy night-scented flowers.  They are some of the loveliest scents of the plant kingdom, and they engage snooping.  Even when you take cuttings for a vase, these flowers “remember” to release their fragrance at dusk and then hold tight to their scent during the daylight hours. Some of the night-scented flowers are listed below.

Four O'Clock
Four O’Clock flowers come in cheerful shades of reddish-purple, yellow, pink, and white (some are bi-colored).  They open in late afternoon and smell lovely throughout the evening and night.

Night-Scented Stock
Photo courtesy of TM Seeds
Night-Scented Stock looks so unassuming by day that you could toss it aside as a weed, but at night its cross-shaped pinkish-purple flowers release a heavy, intoxicating aroma. 

Hosta, Royal Standard
Photo courtesy of Hosta Patch
Hostas, for the most part, are scentless, but some smell very sweet at night. ‘Royal Standard’ blooms for weeks in August and September with large white flowers on stalks three feet tall.  Other fragrant hostas include ‘Fragrant Blue’, ‘Honeybelle’, ‘So Sweet’ and ‘August Lily.’

Tobaccos are available in a variety of colors and include many species with flowers that release a rich, sweet fragrance at night. The plants often look inelegant and they have sticky, smelly, poisonous leaves. But, many gardeners are willing to overlook those faults for the sake of their floral perfume.    

Other flowers perfuming the air at night include many species of Lily (Madonna, Easter, Gold-band, Regal, and the Aurelian and Oriental hybrids), Moonflower, and Soapwort (this one is invasive and grows anywhere, so plant it away from your garden beds). 

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  1. All are very beautiful flowers. But I do not like Tobacco. This is not beauty but Poisson.

    1. Hello Two Steps - Agree that you would not want to eat the leaves, but the flowers carry a delightful fragrance at night! -Debra

  2. I planted flowering tobacco this year hoping for a strong scent, but it barely smells at all. However, I did find some Supertunia petunias that smell like lilies! Great list!

  3. @OakleysGarden shared this post on Twitter. So interesting! I'm following your blog and excited to share some posts with my mom, another avid gardener. Thanks for sharing! @bintbob

  4. Night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum), now this is a delightful night fragrance : )


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