Depending upon where one lives, there are a host of night-bloomers that could be fit into a nighttime garden. Datura, moonflowers, Indian tobacco, four o'clocks, blazing stars, catchflies, night blooming jasmine, night gladiolus, dragon fruit, night-blooming cereus and Lady of the night, these are just some of those plants whose flowers bloom at night.

The groImageup of evening primroses (Oenothera) is another source of night blooming flowers. These flowers slowly unfurl their petals, sometimes during the day, and produce scents that attract night-flying moths and insects. Sphinx moths, also known as hummingbird moths, which resemble small hummingbirds, may visit these flowers in search of nectar, as well lay their eggs on the plants. The greenish caterpillars resemble a tomato hornworm, for the hornworms are close relatives of the sphinx moth. The larvae feed on the primrose's leaves before going underground to pupate.

Besides the primrose, there is the snowball or sand verbena (Abronia fragrans) with its cluster of tubular white flowers that form a snowball shape when all the flowers open. The verbena attracts sphinx moths in a similar fashion, with sweet aroma and nectar rewards, but sometimes an early morning butterfly may feed on the flower's nectar prior to closing time.

One classic genus of plants in the nighttime garden are the Yuccas (Yucca). Members of the Agave Family, their flowers open in at night and attract a particular species of moth, called the yucca or pronuba moth. The female of this species gathers a small ball of pollen in her mouth and pollinates a receptive yucca plant, then deposits her eggs in the base of the yucca's ovary. As the fruit develops, the larvae feed upon the maturing seeds. These small ½" long moths are easy to view at night as they crawl over and into the yucca's bell-shaped flowers.

Some of the night-blooming plants might be potted ones growing inside or others planted out in the garden. My friends have a night-blooming cereus (Peniocereus) that has put on quite the indoor show this summer. Their time lapse photography of the flowers opening is truly a marvel. These plants also grow in the wild and their ephemeral blooms last but a day.

A visit to the local nursery or stroll through the wilds will reveal a variety of night-blooming plants. Many have a strong, sweet scent designed to attract pollinators; we humans get the benefit of nighttime flowers and sweet aromas with these "moon bloomers."