BY Chuck Malloy President, s and Member, Palm Society of South Texas
A moon garden is great with night blooming flowers, but don’t forget the fragrances! Think about it! The night air being cooler, less wind, and the humidity trying to climb, makes a perfect recipe for C. nocturnum. As it’s specie name implies…nocturnal. Also, called Night Blooming Cestrum, Night Scented Jessamine, or Queen of the Night. It is in the night shade family and all parts are poisonous if eaten.
From a 10” single stalk cutting last April mine is a full 4’ shrub now even after several prunings for shaping.
The east side of the house is best with morning filtered light ending up with about 2 hours of full sun, and then shade the rest of the day. It will wilt in heavy sun here in the RGV. The plant is a good hedge/border plant growing 4-13’ tall.
The foliage is not the showiest and the freeze this winter caused mine to look stressed, but it’s back in full form now. If you maintain the plant from getting leggy, I think that the blooms are more numerous.
Do not over water and not salt tolerant. The berries are white with seeds inside and looks like ornaments on your plant. One can grow these in containers or in the ground.
Now for what you have been waiting for! The blooms! They are narrow tubular greenish-whitish closed during the day at their ends. At night, they open up into shooting stars and the fragrance is released. To me, the fragrance is on the heavy side like a gardenia. You don’t have to be close to enjoy the scent as it will permeate your surroundings for at least 50’.
Now you know why it’s called the Queen of the Night.