The Smoky-Sounding Flower That Brings A Lovely Fragrance To Moon Gardens

Moon gardens are just as whimsical as they sound. They're curated with plants that bloom in the evening, giving you a reason to stay on your patio or balcony after dark. To create a moon garden, you want to focus on blooms that have strong perfumes, open up in the twilight hours, and are white or silvery to better reflect the moonlight. The only trick is finding enough plants that can fit the bill. To help start your moon garden journey, consider planting the tobacco flower. This smoky-sounding bloom has a trumpet shape capped off with white petals, and it releases a scent reminiscent of jasmine into the air after dark. Both features make it a great contender for your moon garden. 

The fact that its blooms are nicknamed "white shooting stars" only adds to its charm. It lends a decidedly witchy air with a name like that, but that's not all. It also attracts moths to its vicinity, ensuring you'll have winged insects fluttering around while you enjoy a glass of wine or cup of tea in the late evening hours. Here is a deeper look into how to plant and cultivate the tobacco flower in your moon garden. You will be enjoying the fragrant addition in no time. 

How to grow the tobacco flower

The tobacco flower, or flowering nicotiana, is a statement plant in your garden thanks to its height. It's not a squat little flower mound. Instead, it grows 3 to 5 feet tall. Since the fragrance is only released during the evening, plant it near your patio or balcony so you can enjoy it during the nights you stay outside longer. Or if you're not one to sit outside, you can also plant it near windows so it can waft inside the house. However, keep in mind these bloom best when they have access to full sun throughout the day, so choose a spot that doesn't get covered in much shade. If you can't find a location like that in your yard, you can also plant these in large containers, allowing you to put them wherever they'll get the most sun. 

If you're growing it from seed, you will be happy to know that it grows pretty quickly, so you won't have to wait long to enjoy your blooms. The tobacco flower can be planted in USDA zones 9 to 11 and should be sowed in late February or early March, after the last frost has passed. Make sure not to compact dirt over the seeds; they should be lightly covered to allow plenty of sun and airflow. The tobacco flower is drought tolerant, so it won't wilt if you forget to water it for a week, but will flourish if it receives consistent watering. 

How to use it in your moon garden design

Since these plants are tall, you can use them in all sorts of different ways in your moon garden design. One easy way to incorporate them is to stick them in the back of your design, allowing them to act as a decorative wall for shorter plants in the flower bed. You can either create a backdrop using a line of tobacco flowers, or mix and match them with other tall, white blooms, such as gardenias, which typically grow 3 to 8 feet high. However, that's not your only option. You can also use them as a tall accent plant in a large container, helping to add height and interest with its stalks. 

When choosing your moon garden design, you should also consider how its jasmine-like scent will mix with the other flowers. For example, the sweet flower smell can mingle nicely with the lemony scent from moonflowers, which are vining plants, and evening primrose, which grow low to the ground and make great border flowers. If you want more of an herbal aroma, consider pairing it with lavender or Silver Mound Artemisia, also known as wormwood. The latter doesn't have any white blooms but still reflects the moonlight on its silvery leaves. It's a velvety plant that'll add a hint of luxury to your garden.