Night Scented Plants - Fragrant Flowers
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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)
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
Lady of the Night (cestrum nocturnum)
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.