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What is Night Phlox?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers

Those in search of a unique plant should consider night phlox, which is so named for the fact that the flowers tend to open in the evening, releasing their sweet smell after the sun goes down. It is also known as midnight candy, though its official plant name is Zaluzianskya capensis. Despite the fact that the flowers seem to prefer it when the sun goes down, this South African plant grows best when it is located in full sun most of the time. It prefers moist soil and just a little water, making it drought-tolerant and quite low-maintenance. Its colorful flowers tend to bloom the best in the summer, attracting bees, birds, butterflies, and anyone that enjoys a tropical scent.

Night phlox can grow to a height of 2 feet (0.61 m), and should be spaced about 1 foot (0.30 m) away from other plants so that it has room to grow. It prefers moist, rich soil that is either a bit acidic or neutral, and it should be well drained. Night phlox should typically be planted in a spot where it will get full sun or partial shade, in a location where the gardener and passers-by alike can easily appreciate the tropical scent of this plant. It typically takes about three months to go from a seed to a blooming plant, which means that planting it in the late spring or early summer is recommended so that it misses the frost of the winter and also has time to bloom by late summer or early fall. As long as these planting tips are followed, these herbaceous plants are considered quite easy to grow.

Night Plox can tolerate drought.
Night Plox can tolerate drought.

This tall flowering plant features stems with many branches that support colorful flowers that easily appeal to many, and are often successfully planted either as borders or in beds of many flowers. The colors of the night phlox flower range from white to pale pink and even maroon, and they tend to bloom during the summer and fall. The fragrance is strongest in the evening since the blooms are closed during the hottest part of the day, and then open up when the sun goes down, resulting in a sweet, tropical scent that is quite strong. Night phlox is known for being drought-tolerant, as it only needs a little water and does best with lots of sun. It can also be grown in flower pots and placed indoors for a natural way to add a sweet fragrance to any home.

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Discussion Comments


South Africa is full of these flowers. I was there for a study abroad just last month. I had no idea what they were called but it turns out they are of South African origin and I found them that way.

The ones I saw were almost tree like, they had grown very large and wide. Sometimes I could smell them walking around, but not all of them were fragrant. Maybe there are different species of night phlox that are less or more fragrant.

I took lots of pictures of them too. I didn't know we had them here in the U.S. But it's still a nice memory.


I saw night phlox for the first time last week at a nursery. There were many different types of plants and flowers but this one attracted me the most because it has two colors. The outer part of the flowers are one color and the inner part another. So when it is closed, it looks like the flowers are purple, but when it blooms, you realize they are white.

I'm really glad I found them. They look great in my house. It doesn't look very special during the day, but at night, it's a total transformation.


We have some in our yard!

It has white beautiful flowers that kind of look like hearts. My dad loves planting flowers and although I'm not very interested, I was very excited about this flower when he got it. In the beginning, I used to go around and look in the evening to see if they had bloomed.

Our guests love it too. In the summer we have barbecue dinners in the yard and everybody asks where the fragrance is coming from.

I think night phlox is one of the prettiest and coolest flowers ever! I might take some with me when I move to my new place.

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    • Night Plox can tolerate drought.
      By: sakura
      Night Plox can tolerate drought.