Why Is Night Blooming Flowers Generally White

Why Is Night Blooming Flowers Generally White?

Flowers, without a doubt, give additional beauty to a garden. These beautiful works of art make a lawn look alive especially during the brightest parts of the day. Aside from the greenery that grasses and leaves contribute; they fill your garden with other different colors.

Flowers typically bloom during daytime and close or droop down during the night. However, did you know there are what we call night-blooming flowers? Instead of losing their visual features after the sun sets, these flowers do the opposite. They bloom more after the sun has gone down

white flower, poisonous angel's trumpet, night blooming flower
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Why Is Night Blooming Flowers Generally White?

If you have experienced walking around a moon garden or a garden meant to be enjoyed during night time, you would see that night-blooming flowers are mostly white-colored. Night-blooming flowers are generally white because this is the color that dramatically stands out with limited light.

Moreover, this is not just a coincidence. Their white color has other purposes. Aside from aesthetic reasons, their color also makes it easier for insects and pollinators to discover them in the dark. The major pollinators of flowers that bloom at night are moths and baths. Other insects such as bees and butterflies are also attracted to them.

These white flowers reflect the light coming from the moon that in return makes them highly visible for various insects and mammals. Furthermore, most of the background is dim and no other colors are there to compete with them. Thus, night-blooming flowers do not need to have colorful petals just to attract creatures that will help them pollinate.

Easter lily cactus, a night blooming flower


Image Credits: Michael Whitehead

In addition to their white color, these flowers also release intense fragrance in the evening compared to daytime. This sweet, nectar scent is another adaptation that helps lead nocturnal agents of pollination to them. The combination of their bright white color and intense smell help other creatures to find them.

This symbiotic relationship is a natures way to ensure that these plants can continue to be pollinated and reproduce particularly in the wild.

White Night Blooming Flowers You Can Plant in Your Garden

1. Jimsonweed

Datura night blooming white flower


Image Credits: Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada / CC BY-SA

This flower comes by many names such as sacred datura, sacred thorn apple, angels trumpet, and its scientific name Datura wrightii. Jimsonweeds have large, trumpet-shaped flowers that open wide in the evening. These seem to look withered during the daytime.

Datura wrightii are annual plants that bloom from May to November. They require dry soil and medium watering to thrive. On the other hand, not only its flower but also the whole plant is extremely poisonous to humans and animals. Jimsonweed is lethal when ingested so take extra caution if you want to plant this in your garden.

2. Easter Lily Cactus

Easter Lily Cactus white night-blooming flower


Image Credits: PxFuel

With the scientific name Echinopsis hybrid, easter lily cacti are grown mainly because of their exquisite, nocturnal flowers. Their large flowers are closed up during the daytime. Moreover, their blooming flowers can last for up to 2 days before drying out. Aside from the common white, their fragrant blossoms also come in different colors such as pink and yellow.

These cacti are fast-growing. Additionally, they bloom during springtime, around Easter, as their name implies. If planted from seed, Easter lily cacti may take four years before they can produce flowers. Nevertheless, succulent stores sell these fully grown.

These night-blooming flowers require well-draining succulent soil. Also, they only need minimal irrigation and can resist drought during hot summer seasons. You will not have a hard time maintaining this plant!

3. Evening Star Lily

evening star lily night blooming white flower


Image Credits: Sonnia Hill

Zephyranthes drummondii  or evening star lily is also commonly known as evening rain lily, giant rain lily, prairie lily, and hill country rain lily. This is a bulb with aromatic, elegant-looking flowers that do not only open in the evening but also after rains which gave rise to their common name.

The plant blooming time is from May to September. After blooming in the evening, prairie lily flowers stay open for a few days and can tolerate full sun. Flowers that are done blooming age and become color pink and then wither.

If you want these in your garden, you can plant evening star lily bulbs in moist soil that has good drainage. They also benefit from occasionally dry soil conditions. You can place these along the walkways in your lawn for extra glow during the night.

4. Tuberose

tuberose night blooming flower


Image Credits: Rony Chayan Mondal / CC BY-SA

Tuberose is formerly known as Polianthes tuberose. Currently, its scientific name is Agave Amica. It is a bulb, perennial plant that is slightly succulent. Tuberose flowers are tubular with six petals and also highly fragrant. The plant’s extracts are widely used in perfumeries and remain as an admired floral note for perfumes.

Plant tuberose bulbs on your garden if daytime temperatures already remain constantly above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is to prevent damage from extremely low temperatures that tuberose cannot bear.  You can either plant these in pots, in a flowerbed, or the ground as long as they receive sufficient sunlight. Also, tuberoses grow best in containers that have a soil depth of at least 8 inches.

Establish the bulbs at least three inches deep and six inches apart if you want to plant them side by side. Furthermore, support their growth by adding plenty of organic matter in the soil. Most tuberoses thrive in well-nourished soil conditions and adding compost can help you achieve this. These exceptionally fragrant flowers will not only add beauty but also a sweet-smelling ambiance in your garden, especially during the night.

Other Night Blooming Flowers

Some night-blooming flowers are not colored white. This list contains other colorful and sweet-smelling flowers that you can plant to add beauty to your lawn during night time.

1. Chocolate Daisy


Image Credits: Quinn Dombrowski / CC BY-SA

With the scientific name Berlandiera lyrata, chocolate daisies are also known as Lyreleaf green eyes or chocolate flowers because of their distinct cocoa fragrance that is strongest early in the morning when it is still dark. Their small flowers bloom before the sun rises and may look droopy during the middle of the afternoon.

Be sure to plant chocolate daisies in well-draining soil. The plant’s natural habitat is in rocky and sandy soil types so try your best to copy this condition. Aside from that, if you are already maintaining your chocolate flowers, your soil should not stay wet for long periods because this can result in the rotting of your plant.

2. Red Flare Water Lily

If you have a small pond in your garden, you can add this night-blooming lily to your aquatic plant collection. Red flare water lily or Nymphaea Wanwisa has eye-catching magenta flowers. Aside from its gorgeous flowers, this water lily also possesses huge, reddish-bronze leaves complemented with small purple blotches that help further enhance its beauty.

You can purchase water lily planting kits to help you establish red flare water lilies. The kit includes a planting tub, planting media, and plant fertilizer tablets as well.

3. Night Phlox


Image Credits: Sam Saunders

Night phlox is also known as Zaluzianskya cabins. Also, it is commonly called midnight candy. The plant got its common name because of the characteristic honey-like fragrance that it releases as it blooms in the night. This night-blooming plant is fairly easy to grow. When planted in pots, they grow for only 12 to 14 inches tall.

Plant night phlox seeds in sunny areas with moist, well-draining soil. Also, ensure that you plant them after the last frost or when temperatures are already warm. Establish seedlings at least 12 inches apart to avoid overcrowding. Once set-up, this plant is capable of enduring difficult environmental conditions.


Night-blooming flowers are generally white because this color is easily seen in the dark. Nocturnal pollinating agents such as moths and bats will easily see them because of this feature.

Lastly, flowers that bloom at night are generally more aromatic than those that bloom at daytime. This will also help attract insects at night. This is a nature way of ensuring that these plants survive and reproduce, even in the wild.

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