Best Plants for Creating a Moonlight Garden

A “moonlight garden’ is a garden that contains plants that have white flowers, silver foliage, or variegated foliage. A garden with white and silver colors looks stunning in the moonlight because the plants reflect light at night. A moonlight garden may add to your enjoyment if you like relaxing in your yard after dark, entertaining, or relaxing. You can plant a moonlight garden using annuals, perennials, shrubs, or any combination of the three, and you can also use containers for planting. With some planning, your moonlight garden can offer nighttime interest over several seasons. Consider using soft outdoor lighting to enhance the look of your moonlight garden, such as solar stake lights, fairy lights, or candles in glass jars. 

 

Here are some plants to consider for your moonlight garden. Check with your local nursery or mail-order supplier for the availability of specific varieties and cultivars. 

 

Spring-Blooming Bulbs with White Flowers 

Plenty of spring bulbs you can plant will give you white flowers. Early blooming snowdrops are a welcome harbinger of spring. There are some varieties of white croci, such as ‘Joan of Arc’ and ‘Snow White.” Several all-white daffodils and jonquils, including ‘Mount Hood’ and ‘Thalia.” Dutch hyacinths, grape hyacinths, and Spanish bluebells all come in shades of white. There are wide varieties of white tulips also, from early ‘Emperor’ tulips to Triumph tulips (like ‘Pays Bas’), Darwin hybrids (like ‘Ivory Floradale’), double tulips (‘Mount Tacoma’), lily-

flowering tulips (like ‘Sapporo’ and ‘Triumphator’), and May-flowering tulips (‘Clearwater’ and ‘Maureen’). Windflowers (Anemone blanda) also come in shades of white. 

Mid-Spring White Perennial Flowers 

Once the spring bulbs begin to fade, perennials start to bloom. In mid-spring, columbines put on a lovely show with white shades, including the ‘White Barlow’ columbine and the ‘Dove’ variety from the ‘Songbird’ columbine cultivars. Columbines also come in pale shades of pink and yellow, which can enhance the palette of a moonlight garden. The woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) variety known as ‘May Breeze’ is a hardy perennial that blooms for weeks and is happy in partial shade. There are a number of white peonies (such as ‘Festiva Maxima’ and ‘Duchess de Nemours’), and white irises such as the German iris ‘Immortality’ (which reblooms in late summer), the Japanese iris ‘Mt. Fuji’ and the Siberian iris ‘Swans in Flight.’ There is also a white bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’). 

 

Summer-Blooming White Perennial Flowers 

Summer gardens with white flowers will light up your yard as dusk arrives. They can provide a magical glowing landscape to enjoy in the evening. White perennial flowers include dianthus (‘Greystone’ and ‘Itsaul White’), tall phlox (‘David’), echinacea (cultivars include ‘Pow Wow White,’ the cream-colored ‘Delicious Nougat,’ 

the large ‘White Swan’ and others), and of course, many daisies, including ox-eye or Shasta daisies (which include a range of cultivars like ‘Becky’ and ‘Snowcap’) and Montauk daisies. There are white lupines, white yarrow (try ‘Ballerina’ or ‘New Vintage White’), white veronica (‘First Lady’ or ‘Icicle’), and white chrysanthemums (many cultivars include ‘French Vanilla,’ ‘Odysseus’ and ‘Starlight’). 

Shrubs with White Flowers 

Many shrubs with white flowers are suitable for a range of growing zones. The dramatic flowers of Brugmansia’s trumpets) are a real show-stopper, and these plants do well in hotter climates. There are white lilacs, white Rose of Sharon (hibiscus), white viburnum, white butterfly bushes (‘White Profusion’ and ‘Pugster White’), and wide varieties of white and cream-colored hydrangeas. White flowering hydrangeas are available in big-leaf, oak-leaf, or smooth-leaf varieties. They usually have a cycle of flower color that starts with greenish white, turns creamy white, and then turns pale rose when temperatures cool. Varieties with white flowers include ‘Limelight’ (which gets its name from the slight green tinge in the young blooms that turn whiter as they mature), ‘Little Lamb,’ ‘Snow Queen,’ ‘Annabelle,’ and ‘Blushing Bride’ (which has pale pink edges). 

White Roses 

There are many white roses to choose from. One can find a white rose variety of virtually every type of rose cultivar and brand, including climbing roses, hybrid tea roses, Floribunda roses, Rugosa roses, ‘Knockout’ roses, David Austin Roses, and miniature roses. Some worth considering include ‘Moondance’ (a Floribunda rose with creamy white petals that have a light fruity scent), ‘Desdemona’ (a David Austin rose with pale peach tones when in the bud and a myrrh fragrance), and ‘Sugar Moon’ (a fragrant hybrid tea rose with deep green leaves). White climbing rose varieties include ‘White Dawn,’ ‘Iceberg,’ and ‘Sally Holmes.’ 

White Flowering Annuals to Grow from Seeds or Tubers 

Some annuals will reseed themselves in the garden, while others need to be planted yearly. You can experiment with different seeds to see what happens in your garden. Reliable annuals that come in shades of white include cornflowers (also known as bachelor buttons), cosmos (like ‘Purity’ or ‘Afternoon White,’ or the fluffy doubles ‘White Knight’), zinnias (try ‘Polar Bear’ or ‘Benary’s Giant White’), and marigolds (‘Snowball’ or ‘White Swan’). There are even white sunflowers! Try ‘Snow White’ (with dark black-brown centers) or ‘Italian White’ (with deep reddish brown centers). Some annual flowers are grown from tubers, including dahlias, cannas, and pot begonias.  

White Annual Flowers for Containers 

Annuals are so helpful in the summer months for effortless color, either planted in flower beds or containers. All these blooming powerhouses need is regular watering and some occasional deadheading. White-flowered annuals include petunias, portulacas, snapdragons, lobelia, ageratum, wax begonias, and salvia.

Perennials with Silver Foliage 

White and cream-colored flowers will be the focal point of your moonlight garden. But having silvery or variegated foliage plants the all-important background and structure to your design. Some beautiful plants with silvery foliage will look breathtaking in your moonlight garden. Start with artemisia: also known as “wormwood,” this herby plant comes in several varieties. ‘Silver Mound’ artemisia grows in clumps and has delicate feathery fronds; it likes partial sun and performs best if divided every other year. ‘Silver brocade’ artemisia has serrated thick silver-white leaves that weave along the ground and among low growing plants. There are many newer heuchera hybrids with silvery leaves also. These cultivars include ‘Stainless,’ ‘Dolce Silver Gumdrop’ (which has deep pink flowers), and ‘Smoke and Mirrors.’ There’s also the heucherella plant, a related variety with slightly smaller leaves and flowers; one silver-leafed cultivar is ‘Cracked Ice.’ Brunerra is a shade-loving perennial that gets tiny blue flowers in spring and has handsome silvery foliage throughout the season; try the ‘Sterling Silver cultivar. Some pale blue hostas look silvery in the moonlight, including ‘Blue Angel,’ ‘Krossa Regal,’ and ‘Halcyon.’  

Perennials with Variegated Foliage 

Many perennials have varieties that have a variegated foliage variation. Variegated means the foliage contains more than one color, often with one color occurring on the edges of leaves. One of the most common examples is variegated hostas. Deep green leaves can have variegated streaks and white, yellow, blue, and light green edges. There are dozens of hosta cultivars with white variegated leaves that would look wonderful in your moonlight garden, including ‘Patriot,’ ‘Loyalist,’ ‘Francine,’ ‘Fire and Ice,’ and many others.

 

Maxmilian sunflower - TN Nursery

Maximilian Sunflower

Maximilian Sunflower is a tall, native perennial with bright yellow, daisy-like flowers and narrow leaves. It often forms impressive colonies and attracts pollinators in late summer and fall. Sunflowers are remarkable and versatile plants that offer a range of benefits when used in landscaping. Their vibrant color and adaptability can add aesthetic value and functional advantages to various outdoor spaces. The Maximilian Sunflower is a radiant North American perennial known for its impressive stature and vibrant yellow hue. With a propensity to form dense colonies, these stunningly dynamic plants provide rich visual appeal to any landscape or garden. Their sublime and livening presence innately offers rich enchantment for the gaze of onlookers. Maximilian Sunflower perennial grows to a height of 3-10 feet with slender stalks and narrow leaves with bright yellow flowers that are excellent for attracting pollinators. These perennials bloom after most other perennials stop blooming later in summer into early fall. The Latin name for this vibrant plant is helianthus maximiliani. Maximillian Sunflower Has Vibrant Yellow Blooms  The blooms are brilliant yellow and have many petals alongside a disk-shaped cone. These plants are native to the United States in many regions, and they are so hardy that they can grow even near roadways, prairies, and open fields. Maximilian Sunflowers are sustainability-friendly and promote birds, bees, and monarchs as open pollinators. They are also super low maintenance and seldom need fertilizers or water in areas with adequate rainfall. It's a super hardy wildflower perennial with rough edges, displaying its durability and simplicity of appearance as well. It can tolerate drought conditions and open sunlight. Birds and insects feast on the seeds inside the plant's conehead, making it an excellent source of a good supply without messy bird feeders or buying bird seeds. It is highly sustainable, hardy, and thrives in various soil types, making it one of the best, most vibrant, and hardiest complete sun plants. TN Nursery offers blooming age, bare root perennials at a fraction of the cost of potted plants. Why buy a container and a handful of soil and pay three prices when you can buy the plant bareroot and have the same thing shipped to your door at a fraction of the cost? Maximilian Sunflower Gets Very Tall These gorgeous natural creations intrinsically reach toward the sky. Standing erect, they often get a looming height of around 10 feet. The towering beauties possess uniquely slender stems decorated with long lance-shaped leaves. Underneath the flower head, dark green phyllaries stick straight out before subtly curling at the tips. The bright golden petals delightfully evoke luminescent rays of sunshine. A jagged alternation pattern creates intricate layers of pleasing asymmetry. Their wispiness embodies an illustrative quality that summons a beatific repose. This flower’s center is packed with circular bronze florets. These discs often showcase a fractalized pattern that is simply mesmerizing. Meanwhile, the circumference is embedded with sleek light-yellow florets that create a glorious juxtaposition. Their relatively late blooming period is pleasant in summer and early fall. Thus, they can become the cornerstone of any idyllic scenery. Unlike many other growths from the same genus, these sunflower stems can support several clusters. As a result, these durable plants make for a divine ornamental selection with downright transformative effects on the landscape. Wildlife also likes this flower. Its abundance of nectar is considered irresistible to local pollinators, so it is often associated with a thriving ecosystem of bees and butterflies. Later in their flowering stage, the seeds occasionally attract a diverse ornithological scene, much to the delight of birdwatchers. Maximilian Sunflower derives its namesake from Prince of Wied-Neuwied. The famed German explorer first came upon these magnificent flowers during his North American expeditions, and they were dubbed Helianthus in his honor. It is a suitable title, especially since any outdoor environment is lucky to be bestowed with these golden gems. They are a native perennial coveted for their height, versatility, and blazing yellow hues. It's easy to grow even if you have little gardening experience. The following post concerns this gorgeous bloomer and how it can add life to your outdoor spaces. What Does It Look Like?  People often hear "sunflower" and think of a bloom with a black central disc surrounded by blazing yellow petals. And while they share some characteristics with common sunflowers, there are some distinctions. For instance, their central disc is smaller than a typical sunflower and does not contain blackened florets.  Instead, the hub of the Maximilian Sunflower is populated by clusters of tiny, yellow florets that provide sustenance for pollinators. So, their entire bloom is varying shades of yellow. One thing they share with its more common sunflower relative is height. They can grow to a height of 10 feet!  The flower is supported by a long, narrow stem covered in coarse hairs. Alternate, blade-shaped leaves adorn the towering stem, growing as high as just under the flower bloom. The proximity of the green leaves to the actual flower provides a stunning juxtaposition of natural color evocative of the sun setting over verdant hills. Their conehead is filled with intricate patterns of bronze to bright yellow florets. The mesmerizing structure of these tiny florets belies the mostly uniform layers of petals that envelope them. The florets produce seeds that are a food source for various bird species.  It is also unique among its genus because one stem can support a cluster of flowers instead of just one. Naturally, they grow dense and can colonize very quickly if allowed to. This makes them a good option for filling a large area with golden hues. However, if you have limited space to work with, the multi-flower growths of the slender stems still allow for a radiant burst of color in tight spaces.  Blooms of them are typically 5 inches in diameter, with a central disc spreading out to about one inch in diameter.  What Are the Benefits of Them?  They can add a gilded, regal quality to your outdoor spaces, but that's not all they bring. Take a look at the following reasons why people love to grow these plants:  They Support the Local Nectar Bee Population - Bees flock to them because they produce nectar. Moreover, it produces nectar at a time of year when other perennials become barren. So, they are an excellent choice to keep bees returning to your garden late into the season. As if the inherent chroma of the flower weren't enough, it also attracts colorful, nectar butterflies.  Late Blooming- Many add them to their gardens because they bloom into late fall. This unique blooming span makes this flower ideal for maintaining color throughout the year.  Very Tolerant—While it prefers dry to moist soils, it can tolerate many conditions. It's not uncommon for this plant to thrive in loamy or limestone-rich soil. Great for Bird Lovers- The fertile florets of the flower produce seeds late into the season, which attract a wide variety of birds. The flower is a no-brainer if you are an avid bird-watcher or enjoy providing a haven for avian wildlife.  If you need to become more familiar with this perennial, you may have questions about how to grow and maintain them. So, let's address some common questions about this rewarding flower.  Do They Come Back Every Year?  Another way it distinguishes itself from other sunflowers is that it's a perennial—many sunflowers are annuals. It is supported by a hardy rhizome that will produce new growth yearly.  How Tall Do Maximilian Sunflowers Get? They are known for their stature, reaching up to 10 feet. Its blooms stretch more or less upright toward the sky, giving them a stately appeal that contrasts nicely with flowers and plants that grow closer to the ground.  How Do You Plant them?  It needs between 6 and 8 hours of sun per day. Sow the seeds directly into the soil at about half an inch depth. Seeds should be planted in spring. Be sure to leave between 18 and 24 inches between each plant to allow the root system to grow correctly and avoid crowding. Do You Need to Deadhead Them?  Deadheading will keep blooms coming back and keep the plant looking clean. It would help if you deadheaded dying flowers as they appear. Deadheading will also stymie seed production to avoid spreading to other parts of your garden.  Should You Support the Stem of the Maximilian Sunflower They can grow to be very tall. Their stems are naturally skinny, so you may need to support them with stakes. If you see the plant start to bend or sag, or if you live in an area that experiences high winds, helping the stems with stakes may be necessary. Overly rich soil may also promote hardy blooms with weak stems. If you notice that yours are arching before they bloom, you may need to amend the soil to make it less fertile.  TN Nursery is your source for many native species, from lush ferns to pollinating perennials. We ship nursery-nourished plants that can go straight into your soil right to your door. There is no hassle, and with our one-year guarantee, there is no risk. Place an order for your favorite plants today!

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