Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night (part 2)

2016 8-16 MoonflowerJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~ In last week’s post (see it here), I talked a little about the history and lore of moon gardens and how they have been used by lovers, philosophers and for religious and ceremonial purposes throughout the ages.  In this week’s post I will share with you a whole host of plants that will look fabulous in your very own moon garden – some of which might just surprise you!  So, let’s get started!

Perhaps it goes without saying, but a moon garden is meant to be enjoyed between the waning hours of daylight and the full light of the moon, but they also look great during the daytime and during the dark of the moon, especially when given a little artificial lighting.  Of course, every moon garden plant has its own special trait that make it a good candidate for the night garden, but many of the best have a few special features.

The first thing to look for in plants for a moon garden are those with flowers that either stay open after the sun goes down or which bloom exclusively at night.  These types of flowers generate the most “shine” in a moon garden.  White, pink, yellow and gold are all good color choices, though red and purple flowers can add a nice jolt of color for sunset viewing. Also, having one or two plants with sweetly fragrant flowers such as night blooming jasmine, white roses, angel’s trumpets and true moonflowers can add yet another layer of enchantment to nighttime viewing.

The second most important feature of moon garden plants is reflective foliage. Below you will find groups of flowering plants and herbs that have grey, silver, or variegated foliage. These plants add much needed depth and contrast to the moon garden by reflecting their ghostly forms. And many plants with grey-green foliage have the added bonus of being luxuriantly touchable and sometimes quite fragrant as well. Artemisia and sage are two good examples.

The next group of plants anchors the garden by providing vertical lines and structural interest to the moon garden. These include ornamental grasses, small trees, slender shrubs, and even bamboo. Ornamental grasses have the added benefit of generating movement and sound. Last but not least, you can add a touch of functionality and whimsy to your moon garden by including a few white or almost-white vegetables such as pumpkins, eggplant, tomatoes, okra and peppers. Many of these vegetables are not only decorative, but edible as well. Imagine the ghostly forms of white bell pepper lanterns or magical glowing pumpkins in your moon garden. What a sight!

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The following groups of plants are meant to get you started in your moon garden adventure. These plants are but a few of the thousands of wonderful possibilities. Use them as a stepping stone to find new and interesting cultivars to plant in your own moon garden. These lists include the common name, the Latin name and where appropriate, the specific cultivar as well as whether the plant is an annual or perennial. Please note that a few of the night blooming plants are poisonous and have been marked as such. Use caution when growing these around small children.

Night-Blooming Moon Garden Plants

  • Datura/White Moonflower (Datura inoxia) annual, poisonous
  • Cereus Cactus (Cerus genus) perennial
  • Night Blooming Aroids (Philodendron/Arum Family) varies
  • Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia arborea) tender perennial
  • Night Blooming Water Lily (Nymphaea lotus ‘Dentata Superba’) annual
  • Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris) self-sowing annual, poisonous

2011 7-18 Custer State Park, Harney Peak - Needles (41)

White and Yellow-Flowered Moon Garden Plants

  • Cleome (Cleome hassleriana) self-sowing annual
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis species) perennial
  • Evening Primrose (Oenothera species) annual/perennial
  • Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa var. ‘Pink Petticoats’) perennial
  • Garden Thyme (Thymus species) perennial
  • Opium Poppy (Papaver laciniatum var. ‘Swansdown’) self-sowing annual
  • Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale var. ‘Louvre’) self-sowing annual
  • Snow-on-the-Mountain (Euphorbia marginata) annual
  • Sulphur Cinquefoil (Potentilla recta var. ‘Warrenii’)
  • Vervain (Verbena officinalis) perennial
  • White Four O’clock (Mirabilis jalapa) annual
  • White-Flowered Borage (Borago officinalis var. ‘Alba’) self-sowing annual
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) perennial
  • Yucca (Yucca filamentosa) perennial

Moon Garden Plants with Grey, Silver or Variegated Foliage

  • Artemisia (Artemisia ludoviciana var. ‘Silver King’) perennial
  • Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides var. ‘The Line’) annual
  • Common Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis var. ‘Berggarten’) perennial
  • Common Rue (Ruta graveolens) annual
  • Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum) tender perennial
  • Eucalyptus Plant (Eucalyptus gunnii var. ‘Silver Drop’) tender perennial
  • Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina) perennial
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) perennial
  • Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) perennial
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia var. var. ‘Munstead’) perennial
  • Red Everlasting (Helichrysum sanguineum) perennial
  • Sage/Salvia (Salvia species) perennial
  • Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus) perennial
  • Variegated Yucca (Yucca filamentosa var. ‘Variegata’) perennial
  • Woolly Lavender (Lavandula lanata) perennial
  • Woolly Thyme (Thymus psuedolanginosus) perennial
  • Wooly Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) perennial
  • Wormwood (Artemisia pontica) perennial
  • Yarrow (Achillea taygetea var. ‘Moonshine’) perennial

2015 5-6 Lamb's Ears

Vines with White Flowers for the Moon Garden

  • Clematis (Clematis terniflora var.‘Sweet Autumn’) perennial
  • Moonflower Vine (Ipomoea alba) annual poisonous
  • Night Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) perennial
  • White Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) annual

Ornamental Grasses for Moon Gardens

  • Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) perennial
  • Broad Leaf Sedge (Carex siderosticha var. ‘Lemon Zest’) perennial
  • Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Avalanche’) perennial
  • Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) perennial
  • Golden Hakonechloa Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) perennial
  • Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Cabaret’) perennial
  • Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Super Stripe’) perennial
  • Mt. Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra) perennial

Trees, Shrubs and Bamboo for the Moon Garden

  • Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) perennial
  • Ghost Bamboo (Dendrocalamus minor amoenus) perennial
  • Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana var.‘’Contorta’) perennial
  • White Climbing Rose (Rosa species) perennial
  • Yellow Stem Bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’) perennial

White Vegetables Shine in Moon Gardens

  • Bell Pepper – ‘Bianca Hybrid’
  • Eggplant – ‘Alba’
  • Eggplant – ‘White Egg’
  • Eggplant – ‘White Lightening Hybrid’
  • Hot Pepper – ‘Arrivivi Gusano’
  • Okra – ‘White Velvet’
  • Pumpkin – ‘Baby Boo’
  • Pumpkin – ‘Lumina’
  • Tomato – ‘Great White
  • Tomato – ‘Weissbehaarte’

white tomatoes

Now that you have an idea of the types of plants that can be grown in a moon garden, I’m sure you’re ready to get to work putting it all together.  Next week, I’ll give you a little insight into how and where to best create your moon garden, plus lots of tips and tricks to make it a place that really shines!

Make sure you don’t miss the next post by following me on Facebook or Twitter or sign up to receive posts in your inbox by signing up at the top of the page.

If you missed part one of this 3-part series, check it out here!

Until then, Happy Moon Gardening!

© 2017 Jill Henderson  Feel free to share with a link back to the original article.

Read all three installments of this 3-part series:

Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night

Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night (part 2)

Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night (part 3)

Show Me Oz | Living and loving life in the Ozarks!
Gardening, foraging, herbs, homesteading, slow food, nature, and more!

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Learn how to grow and use the world’s oldest, safest, and most medicinal herbs with this easy step-by-step guide!  From starting seeds to preparing home remedies, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs is a treasured resource that you will turn to time and time again.

Available in the Show Me Oz Bookstore.
Look inside!

Jill Henderson is an artist, author, and the editor of Show Me Oz . Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore.  Jill is a contributing author for Acres USA and Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac and her work has appeared in The Permaculture Activist and The Essential Herbal.

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8 responses to “Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night (part 2)

  1. Hello
    Those white roma tomatoes in the photograph are a variety of eggplant. They are not tomatoes. Great article! Very enjoyable, esp. the part about artemisia and veggies! Moon gardens….what a great idea!

  2. Beautiful, many of my favborites among them. I noticed that gold and yellow/orange coloured ghost chillies I grow look fanstastic in the moon light. They seem to be like small lanterns, the first time I noticed I though I was looking at a pair of eyes in the darkness and they were high enough and far enough apart to give me quite a start. Jasmine is gorgeous at night too, it is flowering in the evening, I thought they all did. Thanks again Jill.

    • Love the gold and orange chili lantern idea. I’ll bet ground cherries or tomatillos would look great too. Once you think about it, there are so many plants to use in the moon garden.

  3. oops, lots of typos. apologies.

  4. Pingback: Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night (part 3) | Show Me Oz

  5. Pingback: Moon Shine: Herbs of the Night | Show Me Oz

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