It may sound counterintuitive—considering how much flowers typically love the sun—but, surprisingly enough, night-blooming flowers are an actual thing.
And there’s a perfectly valid, scientific reason for this phenomenon. To put it in laywoman’s terms, flowers are all constantly competing to get pollinated and to spread their seeds. So if you can’t beat the more flashy and colorful flowers during the daytime, it’s a pretty savvy idea to bloom at night and attract the smaller night-time party crowd—or as the non-laywoman would say, the nocturnal pollinators like bats, moths, insects, and some birds.
Although there are some exceptions to the rule, most night-blooming plants tend to have larger than average white blooms and are extremely fragrant. This helps them attract night pollinators to their sweet, sweet nectar.
Now that we’ve gotten that quick science lesson out of the way, let’s look at eight marvelous night-blooming flowers.
As the name suggests, the moonflower loves to spend some quality one-on-one time with earth’s lunar companion. Its star-shaped blooms unfurl during the afternoon into a large, luscious blossom that exclusively attracts nocturnal moths for pollination.
Some moonflower blossoms even give off a lemon scent when they open at night.
Queen of the Night
Queens of the Night, also called Dutchman’s pipe cactus, is easily one of the most interesting night-blooming plants you’ll ever come across. They only bloom once every one or two years. You could call them the one-hit wonders of the flower world.
When they do bloom, though, they put on quite a show, opening up their majestic white blooms with a pastel pink stem, and pinkish yellow leaves that radiate their striking bulb. “Queen of the Night” is definitely a fitting title for these beauties.
Night-Blooming Water Lilies
Like the Calla, tropical night-blooming water lilies aren’t true members of the lily family, but rather named for their similarity in appearance – but that doesn’t make them any less stunning. Unlike the other flowers on this list, they are extremely bright and colorful—mostly coming in deep crimsons, marvelous purples, and vibrant pinks.
They aren’t huge fans of the sun, though, as they typically start to bloom during twilight. Shockingly, their blossoms have been known to reach up to 12 feet in diameter. Crazy, right?
Evening primroses are known for their yellow or pinkish-white bulbs. These flowers usually bloom during the late afternoon and close in the early morning. Interestingly enough, evening primroses don’t discriminate to only nocturnal pollinators – they also attract bees during the few daytime hours that they aren’t getting some shut-eye.
Fun fact: Evening primroses produce an oil containing numerous beneficial fatty acids that are essential for good health. Go grab some!
As we’re sure you’ve already guessed, four o’clocks get their name from the fact that they bloom in the late afternoon. They are also known by the peculiar name umbrella wort, thanks to their parasol-shaped blossoms (we’re still unsure where the “wort” part comes in to play).
In order to woo the few precious pollinators that brave the nighttime hours, they release a spicy citrus scent when they blossom. We think it’s quite nice!
Another name on this list with a spoiler, chocolate daisies are unsurprisingly best known for the delicious, cocoa scent they give off at night. And who doesn’t like the smell of chocolate at night? Hint: Nobody!
The chocolate daisy also sports a cheery look, thanks to its trademark yellow petals, spiky brown and orange flowers, and central green eye. We see you, chocolate daisy… Keep doing your thing!
Although there are several contenders on this list, we’re going to go ahead and say that night phlox has the coolest nickname—midnight’s candy. And it’s no wonder how they got that awesome nickname in the first place. When the night phlox’s white blooms reveal themselves at night, they release a distinct perfume of vanilla with hints of almond and honey. Yes, please!
The Casablanca lily is one of the few night-blooming plants on this list that is actually commonly used in weddings. Their attractiveness is primarily due to their delicate white bulbs, which are home to six gorgeous petals and dark red-tipped spikes.
We’ll be the first to say it: They are the definition of elegance!
As you can see, night-blooming flowers have all the selling points of daytime flowers, and a bit more. Now, off to start that romantic night garden we’ve been planning for so long!Shop All