Night Blooming Plants for Moon Gardens

White Flowers That Shine in the Moonlight

Small white flowers clustered together on thin stems for moon garden

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

"Moon gardens" are landscapes designed to make it possible for you to enjoy them at night, even without flooding your backyard with tons of artificial light. These gardens include plants with white flowers and silver or variegated foliage that can be seen in the reflected light from the moon. The best designs also include some fragrant plants that you can appreciate with your nose, making the garden romantic and mysterious. Light-colored hardscapes also work beautifully in a moon garden.

There are basically four types of plants (there will be some overlap) used in moon gardens:

  • Plants with white flowers
  • Plants with bright foliage
  • Night bloomers
  • Plants with fragrant blooms

While the use of a mass of color can have a great visual impact regardless of your landscape design theme, mass plantings are especially called for when planting moon gardens. A mass of white flowers has a more powerful impact than the same white flowers scattered about. Remember, you are looking for plants that show up at night; one blossom here and there will be swallowed up by the darkness.

White Flowers for Moon Gardens

The white flowers that will work in your moon garden will depend on your hardiness zone. Here, in our examples, we will consider how to create a moon garden in a more northern landscape, though there is certainly plenty for others to learn. The early bloomers will light up your yard in early-to-mid spring, after which they pass the baton to the mid-season bloomers. The latter can be supplemented with annuals. You'll have to wait until late summer for the late bloomers, but they're welcome reinforcements who will grant your moon garden a "second wind" when they do arrive.

Some of the plants on this list of white flowers come in colors other than white, too, but those with white flowers are preferred for nighttime viewing:

Early Bloomers for Moon Gardens

Mid-Season Bloomers

Mid-season white flowers clustered together with tiny yellow centers closeup

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Late Bloomers for Moon Gardens

Don't Forget Bright Leaves

While white-blooming flowers typically prevail in moon gardens, plants with bright foliage also work beautifully in moon gardens. One benefit of going the foliage route is low-maintenance, since leaves generally last longer than blossoms. Fragrant flowers also bring an extra sense into play and can be admired even on nights that are totally dark.

Plants whose bright leaves help them show up at night come in three categories and are among the best plants for moon gardens: specimens with variegated, gold-colored, and silver-colored leaves. The following list provides examples of each:

Plants With Bright Foliage for Moon Gardens

In the next two sections, plants that boast some of the most fragrant blossoms known are listed, beginning with the night bloomers (which must make use of scent, primarily, to lure in nighttime pollinators).


Click Play to Learn How to Select Night Blooming Plants for Moon Gardens

Night Bloomers

Night blooming white flowers with tiny white flowers on tall stems

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Plants With Fragrant Blossoms 

Fragrant white and purple bearded iris flowers closeup

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault