What is a Moon Garden? How to Design a Moon Garden of Your Own

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White Flowers That Shine in the Moonlight

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What is a Moon Garden? Imagine a garden of flowers and foliage that also glows in the moonlight with fragrances to enchant the senses. See how to make a magical Moon Garden—plus, a list of flowers and plants that shine by the light of the Moon!

What is a Moon Garden?

A Moon garden can be enjoyed from dusk to dark—by the light of the Moon—both through sight and smell.

  • White flowers and silvery foliage glow in the moonlight
  • Fragrant plants add to the sensory experience
  • Peaceful sounds with contemporary grasses that rustle in an evening breeze or a water feature can also be relaxing.

A Moon Garden is especially appreciated after the searing heat of a hot summer day when the nicest time to sit outside is during the evening. For folks who are away from their house during the day, it can be so lovely and relaxing to walk around an enchanting evening garden. 

Planning a Moon Garden

  • The flowers and foliage in a Moon garden tend to be white or silvery, but they will only glow if they are in a place accessible by moonlight, so walk around your property to see if shadows of a structure or fence don’t block the Moon.
  • A Moon Garden is generally small as it’s mostly white or light flowers, so don’t get too ambitious with the size! Some gardeners like to even plant in the shape of a full Moon or crescent. 
  • When selecting plants, remember this is a flower garden during the day as well! So, ensure your site has 6 to 8 hours of Sun. If it’s going to be in a shady spot, select only plants for shade. (See detail below.)
  • Most flowers will be white or a light, soft color. Avoid any bright or strong colors, or they will overpower the garden. 
  • When it comes to white flowers, group them in the same shade of white, separated by green or another color. An off-white flower next to a bright-white flower will look faded or dingy.
  • When it comes to scented flowers, separate different scents in the garden as well. 
  • Look for flowers that are “self-cleaning,” which means that their flowers fall off on their own. Otherwise, you’ll need to “deadhead” and remove blossoms to keep the flowers blooming.

See Moon Garden Flowers!

This video showcases the different flowers and foliage for a Moon Garden! Then, see our lists of plants below.

Flowers for a Moon Garden

There are many choices for white flowers for a Moon Garden. Shasta daisies, Sweet alyssum (which has lovely flowers that smell like honey), candytuft (Iberis), white creeping phlox, angel’s trumpet (brugmansia), white bleeding heart, mock orange, moonflower vines, climbing white hydrangea, calla lilies, white lilacs, and white lupine. Moonflowers are an obvious choice!

Don’t forget about the bulbs, such as white daffodils, snowdrops, and summer snowflakes. Check out this list of our favorite white flowers for more inspiration.

Mock orange and white lilacs

Plants With Silver Foliage

White flowers can then be teamed with plants with silvery foliage or those with bright patterns on their leaves.

Good choices are Lambs Ears, Dusty Miller, Silver Sage, and Russian Sage. Hostas are particularly useful as many have variegation; for example, Hosta fortunei ‘albo–marginata’ is perfect as it has white margins around dark leaves that stand out.

You can even find inspiration in the kitchen garden: Globe Artichokes have lovely silver leaves and make striking silhouettes at twilight, as do their cardoon cousins, Cynara cardunculus. These are the most dramatic of all the silver perennials with leaves that are arching, jaggedly dividing, and spiny—a very eye-catching presence. Here are more plants with silver foliage.

Plants With Fragrant Night-Time Flowers

These release their scent in the evening to attract moths for pollination, and many coincidentally have white flowers. Both flowering tobaccos, Nicotiana alata and Nicotiana sylvestris, have elegant white flowers with an intense fragrance, especially at dusk. Grow these either in a large pot or at the back of the border, and watch out for seedlings to pot up for the next year, as they readily self-seed.

Night-blooming jasmine (Night-Scented Jessamine, Queen of the Night) is more famous for its scent rather than its flowers. Star Jasmine produces a gorgeous heavy scent and lovely starry white flowers. Buddliea daviddii ‘White Profusion” is a surprise too. It is a real magnet for night-flying moths and has a beautiful carrying fragrance.

Magnolia Stellata

The moonflower (Ipomoea alba), also known as tropical white morning glory, is another beauty which vines, smells delicately sweet, opens up in the evening and flowers through until daybreak.

Angel’s trumpets (brugmansia) flowers open at night, smell wonderful, and can reach up to 30cm long. As they have a range of colours, make sure you choose a white variety if planning a moon garden and be careful as all parts of the plant are poisonous.

You don’t have to go large—for smaller spaces, Night phlox (Zaluzianskya ovata) is a neatly domed, compact evergreen. In summer, it is smothered with pretty, white-scented flowers. It’s not reliably hardy, so it is best grown in a pot and brought under cover during winter.

Sitting in a Moon Garden

Remember, you don’t have to design a whole garden this way. Just pick an area suited to sitting out in the evening with a clear view of the night sky. Speaking from experience, our small patio flanked by white, scented plants and solar fairy lights—very cheaply done—is our favorite spot in the garden.

White Cosmos

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About The Author

Jennifer Keating

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She is an active equestrian and spends much of her free time at the barn. When she’s not riding, she loves caring for her collection of house plants, baking, and playing in her gardens. Read More from Jennifer Keating

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