Backyard Benefits of Moon Gardens

Take a nighttime stroll through moonlit flowers and evening pollinators.

lavender moon garden Florian Klaes/Getty Images

Why You Should Plant a Moon Garden

Most of us notice how gorgeous gardens are when the sun is shining, but how often do we see what a garden looks like at night? Between dusk and dawn, when moonlight illuminates the plants, visitors can enjoy unique insight into a garden’s personality.

Night pollinators such as moths, native bees and bats are attracted to plants in a moon garden with white and pale-colored flowers that are intensely fragrant and produce a lot of nectar.

As you walk through the moon garden, you can watch these varied and industrious third-shift pollinators as they go about their important work.

Moths

Moths fly to white and pale blooms, which show up well in moonlight. These creatures have an amazing sense of smell; they love highly-scented flowers. Some moths hover over the plants to sip nectar with their long tongues, and others land on flowers while they feed. Many kinds of moths, like sphinx moths, will visit honeysuckle, columbine and amsonia blue star.

Bats

In the arid Southwest, three kinds of nectar-feeding bats pollinate night-blooming plants. They prefer the nectar of large flowers, such as agave, yucca and many types of cacti. Blooms of white, purple and green, along with strong scents, will attract these beneficial nighttime creatures.

Native Bees

Although most bee species, including domestic honeybees, pollinate during the day, a few native bees such as small sweat bees work by night, navigating the garden by moonlight and starlight.  They pollinate evening primrose, monarda and campion. Plus, check out these 10 bee friendly plants to have in your yard.

Night-Blooming Flowers

A moon garden should include flowers in pale hues of yellow, blue, purple, green, pink, white or cream, along with plants with silver or gray foliage. The pale blooms and silvery foliage reflect the light of the moon and the stars, giving the garden a delicate glow. Plants with flowers that stay open through the night such as yucca, or blossoms that open at dusk and close in the morning like evening primrose, are magnets for night pollinators.

Nine Plants With Silver and Gray Foliage:

  • Lavender: flowers of purple and blue;
  • Woolly lambs’ ears: pink flowers;
  • Horned poppy: yellow or orange flowers;
  • Sea kale: sprays of white flowers;
  • Helichrysum: yellow clusters of tiny flowers;
  • Santolina: yellow button flowers;
  • Silver Blade evening primrose: large pale yellow flowers;
  • Pussy-toes: delicate white or pink flowers;
  • Sage: flowers of purplish blue.

Want more growth in your garden? Check out these nine tips for getting your garden to bloom quickly. You’ll thank us later!