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Summer evenings in the garden can be one of the best ways to end a busy day. There are many reasons to plant a night garden—to unwind after work, decompress once the kids are in bed, marvel in the moonlight, or even just to avoid the sun.

Designing a Moonlight Garden

As the sun sets, some plants fade into darkness while others shimmer and glow—even more so if the moon is out. Some flowers save their bloom time for evenings and certain fragrances linger in the air after dark. Naturally, pale-colored flowers in light pink, yellow, and white tend to show up best in the dark, and foliage with variegation or silver/white colorations can catch even the faintest of light.

Enhance the mood or highlight certain features by adding subtle lighting such as strands of patio lights, solar pathway lights, landscape spotlights, and candles.

Plants that Dazzle after Dark

Silver or Blue Foliage Perennials & Shrubs

  • Artemisia
  • Asarum splendens ‘Quicksilver’ (Chinese Wild Ginger)
  • Athyrium ‘Ghost’ (Japanese Painted Fern)
  • Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ or ‘Silver Heart’ (Siberian Bugloss)
  • Artichoke/Cardoon
  • Dianthus
  • Euphorbia wulfenii
  • Euphorbia ‘Glacier’ or ‘Silver Swan’
  • Hebe ‘Quicksilver’ or ‘Silver Dollar’
  • Hebe glaucophylla
  • Heuchera ‘Velvet Night’
  • Stachys byzantine (Lamb’s Ears)
  • Lamium maculatum (Spotted Dead Nettle)
  • Lavender
  • Elaeagnus (Silverberry)
  • Pulmonaria ‘Silver Bouquet’
  • Senecio greyi
  • Phlomis
  • Corokia cotoneaster
  • Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’
  • ‘Blue Spruce’
  • Thymus pseudolanuginosus (Wooly Thyme)
Brunnera Jack Frost leaves
Euphorbia wulfenii
Lavender Plant

Variegated Shrubs with Bright White or Cream Edges

  • Buxus ‘variegata’ (variegated Boxwood)
  • Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ (variegated red-twig dogwood)
  • Daphne ‘Carol Mackie’
  • Hosta ‘Patriot’
  • Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ (Silver Maiden Grass)
  • Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’ (variegated Andromeda)
  • Polygonatum oderatum ‘variegatum’ (variegated Solomon’s Seal)
  • Pulmonaria varieties
Variegated Daphne
Variegated Hosta Plants
Variegated Hosta Plants

Annuals & Tender Perennials with Silver or White Foliage

  • Caladium
  • Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’
  • Helichrysum (Licorice Plant)
  • Senecio ‘Angel Wings’
  • Dusty Miller
  • Echeveria
Senecio Angel Wings
Dusty Miller Plant
Echeveria plants

Plants that Bloom at Night or Are Especially Fragrant After Dark

  • Moonflower (annual vine in Morning Glory family)
  • Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia, tender tropical)
  • Nicotiana sylvestris or alata (annual that freely self sows)
  • Evening Primrose (Oenothera)
  • Star Jasmine
  • Night-Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum, tender tropical)
  • Honeysuckle
  • Dianthus
  • Regal Lily
  • Phlox
  • Petunias
pink Angel's Trumpet flower
Star Jasmine flowers
white phlox flowers

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