Plant these flowers for scented summer evenings

Last Updated: 
April 1, 2008

CORVALLIS - Summer evenings are a perfect time to enjoy the sweet scent of night-blooming flowers. Do you have a porch, back stoop, deck or patio where you linger after dinner until darkness sets in? Or how about a window box or trellis outside your bedroom window?

These are perfect spots to plant flowers that are fragrant after dark.

Many night-blooming flowers are white, explained Barb Fick, home horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. Sweetly scented, night bloomers attract night-flying moths that feed on their nectar and pollen. The following flowers emit their fragrance at night:

Brugmansia (formerly known as Datura) - A bushy plant with huge, white, trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers, commonly called Angel's trumpet. Not recommended if you have children or pets, as it is poisonous.

Evening primrose - A weedy-looking plant by day, evening primroses are an olfactory spectacle at night, when the large yellow flowers give off a sweet aroma.

Evening-scented stock - This small plant opens after sunset to reveal purple flowers and a wonderful spicy scent. Blooms over much of the summer.

Four o'clocks - Like its namesake, these flowers open in the late afternoon of late summer.

Garden heliotrope - A perennial that grows up to five feet tall, with tiny pink blossoms. Exudes fragrance after dark. Its Latin name is Valeriana officinalis. It can self-sow and be a bit invasive, so don't let it get out of hand.

Moonflower - A relative of the morning glory, climbing moonflower plants produce fragrant, white, four- to six-inch flowers that unfurl after dark.

Nicotiana - A fragrant annual whose scent is more intense at night. It has pink, red, green or white flowers.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Barb Fick