Evening is one of my favorite times to enjoy the garden. The hot day of weed pulling and harvesting has come to an end and I can stroll through the garden with a cool beverage. The softer light often shows aspects of plants previously overlooked. Many plants have adapted to the pollinators that come out to feed at this time.
Moonflower Vine- Impomea
Moonflower Vine is one of my all time favorite night bloomers. Provide the plants with a sturdy trellis and they can easily reach up to 20 ft. Moonflower was discovered in the jungles of India during WW II. It thrives where summers are hot. I usually wait to start the seeds once weather has really warmed up. It will just sit and sulk in cool spring temperatures. The plants will put on lots of green growth through much of the summer. Once the days begin to shorten again flower buds will appear. If you time it right you can literally watch the flowers unfurl. Hummingbird Moths and Luna Moths will flock to the large 4-5 inch pure white blooms. The flowers will fade by morning but may linger in cooler or overcast weather.
Night Blooming Daylily Hermocallis citrina
Yes, this is an actual daylily, Hermocallis, that unfurls it's blooms at dusk. Hermocallis is an old fashioned passalong plant. It has been found growing at many old abandoned home sites. Wheile the buds are closed the tips of each are stained with a purple-brown spot. The narrow flowers open in early evening and remain open until late the next morning. The lemon yellow sepals have streaks of green and are very fragrant.
Nicotiana- Flowering Tobacco
I grow several varieties of Flowering Nicotiana here at Mountainlily Farm. In my early years in the nursery industry the small, colorful bedding plants first caught my attention. The star shaped flowers in pinks, reds, and whites added a different feel to annual planting schemes. Then I discovered Nicotiana alata which grows a little taller at approx. 2 ft. The graceful flower stalks rise above perennials and make this a great weaver in established beds. The flowers open at dusk and fill the air with a wonderful perfume. This variety blooms in shades of pink, white, and purples. There are other taller, back of the border varieties such as Indian Peace Pipe (pictured) and Langsdorffii with small green bell shaped flowers. All of these varieties will gently reseed around the garden. The rosettes of large flat foliage are easy to recognize.