Night Scented Plants - Fragrant Flowers

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Night-scented stock

Night-scented stock
Night-scented stock

Fragrant Flowers

Here are some of the most fragrant evening or night-scented plants you can grow.

Night-scented stock (matthiola longipetala)

I’ve grown this plant annually, like, forever. Since childhood it’s been my favourite scented flower of all time. It’s not the prettiest flower, especially during the day when it looks dead, but in the evenings the flowers come to life, open up and released a strong scent not dissimilar to cloves.

They are hardy annuals, and they grow a bit gangly by nature, so are best planted with another, showier flower, like Virginian stock. Take the two seeds packets and mix them together, then scatter them over prepared garden soil, rake in, then water in well.

Sow them from March to May, and thin seedlings out, if required, when they come through. They do not transplant well.

I believe these seeds are widely available throughout the world, but not here in Spain, so each year I collect a few dried seed heads and extract the tiny black seeds, and place in a sealed container at the bottom of the fridge, ready for planting out the following Spring.

Nicotiana (nicotiana alata)

Fragrant Flowers

I only ‘discovered’ this beautifully fragrant plant about 10 years ago, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It’s described in the catalogues as a half-hardy annual but in warmer climates can become perennial.

The first ones I grew were the coloured variety, and they were beautiful flowers, but latterly I have only been able to obtain the seed of the white variety.

No matter, as the white ones are really special.

On a dark night the flowers almost glow in the dark, they are such a brilliant white, and like the night-scented stock, their flowers open wide at night and emit the most delicious perfume, which when planted near an open window, pervades the house with its Heavenly scent which will forever remind you of summer and warm balmy nights.

They grow two to three feet tall, and are best started off in a seed tray in a warm room or area, transplanting on when they have developed around 4 leaves. Always hold by the leaves, never the stem.

The seeds ‘come true’ so it’s worth collecting the dead dried seed heads at the end of the growing season and storing in a dry, cool place (the fridge is idea) ready for planting the following Spring.

They tolerate shade well, so this a great plant for lightening up a dark shady corner of the garden. They grow equally well in full sun.

Dama de Noche

cestrum nocturnum
cestrum nocturnum

Lady of the Night (cestrum nocturnum)

Fragrant Flowers

I’ve already described how to grow this plant in detail here, but it’s worth a mention on this page too because of its glorious evening scent. This is a shrub as opposed to a garden flower but one which every scented night garden should not be without.

The Lady of the Night is also known as Dama de Noche, Galan de Noche and Night Blooming Jasmine as well as it's botanical name, Cestrum Nocturnum and grows in warmer countries although it is apparently frost-hardy down to -11C.

Flowering 4 times a year, this is possibly the most highly perfumed flower in the world, its scent being detectable from 50 metres away.

Night scented plants

I’m a night person. I worked on the night shift most of my adult life. I hate getting out of bed in the morning, even though now that I am not working I hate missing the mornings. There are few enough daylight hours at this time of the year.

I think this is why I love night scented plants.

Night Scented Stock

night-scented stock
night-scented stock
night-scented stock
night-scented stock

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Comments 16 comments

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

hi, I have grown all these varieties during the summer in my garden in Lancashire in the North west of England. They are certainly worth growing for their flowers alone the scent is an added bonus.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

You're right DAL:) Fabulous plants, but the scent makes it all really worth while.


myownworld profile image

myownworld 6 years ago from uk

I love gardening too, and am trying to learn about the different flowers/plants grown in Uk (I recently moved here from france); Your hubs have been most useful and helpful! I'm actually jotting down names of plants to buy...so thank you!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

You've got to get Night-scented stock if you're in the UK - they grew wonderfully there!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

I had no idea there was such a thing as a night-scented flower!! This is fabulous. I've been trying to determine what two trees are in my new yard and I just stumbled across this hub. Wonderful information. Rated up! :)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks! I love the night-scented plants the best. During the day there are too many other distractions to fully appreciate a scented plant...but at night time??


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

Delightful hub. I am happy you shared this info as I was not aware of the night fragrances. I will have to try some of these someday just for the lovely scents. Thank you!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

You just need to grow any of them once and you will be hooked! Fantastic scented flowers. Thanks for dropping by :)


Danette Watt 5 years ago

Hi IzzyM. I enjoyed your hub. I've been wanting to plant some night flowers for a few years. Your personal experience growing them and your comments are very useful and I've written down the names of these. Not sure if I'll be able to grow them in Illinois, but I'll find out next summer.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Is Illinois cool? Night-scented stock is great in cooler climates, but the others will be better in a greenhouse or conservatory :)


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Izzy, Love this hub about night scented plants. I remember growing up and having the fragrance of night blooming jasmine fill the air around our house. These are great tips for possible future buys for me! I love flowers, and especially ones that smell good. Great hub!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks, and yes while I am sure there are quite a few more night-scented flowers worth writing about, the ones above are my favourites. Night blooming jasmine is well worth growing if you can get hold of any.


neil 5 years ago

hi, nice page, i have lots of scented stock growing and nicotina plants, just wondering if you have any photos of the night scented stock seed heads you could share with us? regards neil


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

I don't at the moment - I just checked Google images and I don't see any there either. The seed heads are long and thin (like miniature green beans) and the seeds are contained with them in double rows. Pick them off from the plant when they turn brown, dry them out and store in the fridge. In the spring you can release the seeds and re-plant for another stunning display.


neil 5 years ago

ive just seen them! the little bumps that grow into big horns!

ive been watching them for a few weeks-the bumps that is! suddenly i realised what the 'horns' were attached to!

crazy!

i have about 60 NSS scenting my garden at the moment, half of them near wilting and developing nice seed pods, lots of seeds to come : )


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Collect them all! Only once have I seen them self-seeding where they were grown, and that year the display and scent was out of this world!! Mother Nature does a better job of placing them than we can! But it is rare that she does that, so we have to lend a helping hand, by collecting and replanting the seeds.

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