15 Best Night Scented Plants For A Scent Garden
I don’t know about you but I love to spend time in my garden as the sun starts to set in the evening, I sit back and enjoy some of the best night scented plants for a scent garden. I can relax after a busy day, preferably with a glass of wine and absorb all the sights, sounds and smells that abound at this particular time of day.
There is a plethora of fragrant flowers and foliage that we can enjoy during the day and many continue to smell good well into the evening but I want my garden to have a few exquisite surprises, plants that release their scent as night falls are as valuable if not more so than all the other lovely day flowers.
Our senses are more alert as the light dims and dusk begins.
Many of the plants and flowers are finishing for the day, like us they are packing up, and getting ready for a well-earned rest.
What happens now in the garden is that our night scented plants take on a very different persona from their daytime counterparts. Blooms start to unfurl as the warmth of the day fades, their fragrance wafts on a gentle evening breeze.
White flowers in particular come into their own as more colourful flowers are not as visible in the dark. White flowers seem to light up the part of the garden they inhabit.
Night pollinators, such as moths of numerous varieties can smell these magical perfumes as they permeate through out the garden and are attracted to them.
Nature does not stop when the sun is over the yardarm therefore neither should our gardens. We can include many more species of plants to provide nectar for our nighttime pollinators as well as extending flowering and fragrance far beyond the boundaries of daylight.
If you’re looking for flowers that will give you fragrance in the evening then choose some of these easy to grow and maintain night scented species.
Of all the plants for a garden, I always try to buy ones that give me the best bang for my buck, ones that have more than one or two effective characteristics, night scented plant certainly fit that criteria.
15 Best Night Scented Plants For A Scent Garden
Night Scented Perennial Plants
- Summer Phlox
- Night scented Phlox
- Evening Primrose
Summer phlox or Phlox paniculata is a perennial phlox and grows quite tall, so it is ideal for mid to back of the border. In partial to full sun it produces clumps of pretty, scented blooms in mauve, pinks, purple or white. These plants require adequate watering, plant in an area that has good water retention. Dead-heading regularly will keep them flowering all summer through to September.
They can suffer from powdery mildew so plant with enough space to allow good airflow to help combat it.
Mildew resistant varieties are available:
‘White Eye Flame’ , this has pretty pink and white flowers, ‘Violet Flame’ and ‘David’ have all proven more resistant to disease. Their lovely scents drift on the breeze in the evening when the sun goes down.
Night Scented Phlox
I have to say this is one of my personal favourites. It is a clump forming, small plant that is ideal for containers, front of the borders, rockeries or in vertical planting schemes. Night scented Phlox produces tiny flowers that during the day remain closed up and resemble little red bobbles or beads, in the evening they open up to show brilliant white petals and the give off the most heavenly scent. They are usually sold as annuals but I have had them in the garden for several years. I would recommend bringing lots of them indoors during winter or providing adequate frost/winter protection.
Evening primrose is a tall perennial plant, happy to live in the beds and borders. They have pretty yellow flowers that open in the evening, providing a delicious evening fragrance.
An excellent choice for the back of borders, coastal gardens or wildflower gardens.
Many species of moths love them so they are huge boost for these often forgotten pollinators.
They will self seed prolifically so keep an eye on them if you don’t want them to take over.
These plants are toxic, do keep children and pets away from them and wear gloves when handling them.
Take a look here for plants and flowers for a wildflower garden
Night Scented Shrubs
Gardenia jasminoides are large evergreen shrubs with deep glossy green. Clusters of white flowers that are very fragrant during the day and evening.
They can be grown in beds or containers outdoors during the summer but need to be indoors in a warm room with sunlight during winter. (UK)
G.’Kleim’s Hardy’: Believed in some sources to be hardy enough to grow outdoors, but I would advise winter protection.
More commonly known as ‘Angels Trumpet’ for their large trumpet shaped blooms, Brugmansia is a wow factor plant. Bring some sense of the exotic to your garden with these gorgeous tropical plants. They are tender, evergreen, woody shrubs often found thriving in public garden glass houses.
They can be grown in large containers in a sunny spot in gardens or on patios. You would have to bring it indoors in the winter months. Flowers are highly scented after sunset and come in yellow, pink, white and orange.
These plants are toxic, please take care with them.
Night Scented Climbing Plants
- Star Jasmine
Most wisteria are scented, but the scent of some cultivars such as wisteria floribunda is at its strongest scent as evening falls. If you have a favourite spot in your garden where you enjoy sitting at night then that is the place to grow a wisteria.
Right through summer, star jasmine produces delicate white fragrant flowers. An evergreen climber that is hardy but can suffer frost damage. It is best grown against a wall in a sheltered area. It can be hard pruned each year to keep it to a manageable size. New growth will appear in spring.
Honeysuckle is a must have climber for scent both in the day and evening. Many of these scented plants are most noticeable in the evening. Choose a site where you will get the benefit of its perfume and where it has something to freely ramble along. A warm, sunny wall, or pergola is perfect for a honeysuckle.
Annual or Biennial Night Scented Plants
- Hesperis matronallis
- Night Scented Stock
- Nicotiana sylvestris
Hesperis matronallis or gilliflower/sweet rocket produces a violet type scent from masses of pink, cream, mauve or white flowers. A profusion of scented flowers from late spring through summer.
It is a biennial and will self-seed easily. It is ideal for of borders, rockery gardens, English cottage gardens or gravel gardens.
Nicotiana are wonderfully fragrant, both during the day and in the evening. Trumpet like flowers can be brightly coloured, or pastels, even a pale green and white, they will bloom throughout the summer in beds, borders or containers.
Place pots of them on patios or balconies to let the scent drift through open windows.
Night Scented Stock
As it states Night Scented Stock is another evening scented delight.
Grow them easily from seed and add them to the borders or containers. The aroma of these blooms will attract nighttime pollinators, and you can enjoy them too. Their sweet scent wafts across the garden from softly waving stems of pastel coloured flowers.
Stagger the seed planting so that you will have garden ready plants to plant in drifts throughout the summer to prolong flowering.
Nicotiana sylvestris is a tall tobacco plant that bears elegant, white flowers along with an intense fragrance that while is present during the day it is more intense in the evening. Grow it at the back of a border or in large containers.
They are biennial or will appear again for a few years as a perennial.
They self seed readily.
Dianthus produce clove-scented blooms on low growing compact plants that are perfect for rock gardens, front of borders or pots.
A choice of many varieties with flowers in pale pinks, mauve, deep pinks, reds and variegated.
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Bulbs Night Scented Plants
- Tuberosa polianthes
- Regal Lily
This is a richly fragrant bulb. Plant in containers or beds, or grow as an indoor plant. Plant the bulbs two to three inches deep. Tuberose are tender bulbs, take them up and protect from frost in winter.
These majestic lilies are absolutely beautiful. They release a heavenly scent both during the day and at night. Planted in pots they make a very impressive display with many blooms per stem.
I hope that I have awoken your gardening creativity with my favourite night scented plants.
Gardens can be a haven for us, insects, pollinators and other wildlife in the evening and nighttime too. We can enjoy them any time and the moths will thank you as well. Grow your own plants for a scent garden and immerse yourself in fantastic fragrance this summer.
Plant these flowers and shrubs close to windows, walkways, doors, or on patios and by seating areas to fully appreciate their perfume.
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If you have any questions or views please pop them in the comments box below. I always reply as soon as I can.
This is a fantastic article, pleasure for the senses, the photos are really pretty and inspire me to want to plant these night scented plants. I am always looking for new ideas and plants for a scent garden and your article hits the spot for me. Thank you very much.
Thank you for your comments. Night scented plants will really make your garden even more of a lovely place to relax on summer evenings.
Let me know please which plants you choose.
Hello Louise, this is a great article, I love to learn about all these gorgeous plants and how to look after them. I have a small garden and have lots of containers so I will be planting some of these in them. Which are the best night scented plants to grow in containers?
Thank you for getting touch. Many of the night scented plants are happy in pots, in fact the night scented shrubs are better grown in a containers as they will be easier to protect in winter and to give them the correct soil conditions. The Gardenia will need to moved indoors for winter. The lilies and other bulbs are perfect in pots as are most of the night scented Perennial plants and annuals. The evening primrose and nicotiana sylvestris are better in the ground. A small wisteria variety such as Amethyst Falls is fine in a pot as is a Star Jasmine. You can take your pick, they will all look and smell fabulous on your patio area.