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11 Perfect Plants for a Moonlit Garden — in Pots

Most summer gardens must be seen in the daylight for us to truly appreciate their beauty. But if you love to spend your summer nights outdoors, a moon garden can help you create an outdoor space that's just as enjoyable in the starlight as it is in the sunlight.
Moon gardens consist of white flowers and foliage that glow under moonlight. Put these luminous plants in containers for the perfect accompaniment to outdoor evening entertaining.

Like all plants, some of these will have different sun requirements during the daylight hours. But all tend to work best in spots that get plenty of sunlight during the day.
Pennisetum 'Skyrocket'

A nice surprise for your container design is Pennisetum ‘Skyrocket’, featuring thin blades of grass with white margins. It grows up to 2 feet tall, not as big as some other annual grasses.

Common name: Fountain grass
USDA zone: N/A; annual
Light requirement: Full sun
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall and 1 foot to 1 1/2 feet wide
Angelonia angustifolia

Angelonia, which comes in white as well as other colors, is a great choice for hot and humid areas. It features spires of constant blooming flowers from spring to fall and adds nice height to containers.

Common name: Angelonia
USDA zones: 9 to 11 (find your zone)
Light requirement: Full sun
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 9 to 18 inches tall and wide
Mandevilla

If you have a trellis or another support structure, you might try Mandevilla. When grown in containers, this vine will typically reach 3 to 5 feet tall in a growing season, making it another great way to add height to containers. With large, white, funnel-shaped flowers, Mandevilla shines brightly on a moonlit night.

USDA zones: 10 to 11
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 3 to 10 feet tall and 2 to 6 feet wide
Petunia

One of the best-selling summer annuals, petunias are well known for their easy care and nonstop blooms from spring through frost. There are many different varieties available at nurseries; some have a mounding habit, while others spread, so be sure to get the appropriate choice for your container.

USDA zones: 10 to 11
Light requirement: Full sun
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 9 to 12 inches tall and 1 to 3 feet wide
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Gardenia jasminoides

If you’re a fan of strong, sweet fragrance, you might want to try gardenia in your container moon garden. Sometimes considered a diva, gardenias can be finicky about their growing conditions. But with the gorgeous, sweet-smelling flowers, the rewards outweigh the labor.

Common name: Gardenia
USDA zones: 8 to 11
Light requirement: Partial shade
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and wide
Brugmansia

Brugmansia is another large white-flowered plant with a heavenly scent that makes an appearance only in the evening. In many parts of the U.S., Brugmansia must be wintered indoors. Growing it in a container makes this chore a bit easier.

USDA zones: 8 to 10
Light requirement: Full sun
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 5 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide
Hosta

A variegated hosta is a good choice for your container, as its leaves will reflect the moonlight even if its flowers aren’t in bloom. Keep it to a nice small mound as a filler for your container garden; ‘So Sweet’ (shown) is a terrific variety for moon glow.

USDA zones: 3 to 8
Light requirement: Partial shade to full shade
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 6 to 9 inches tall and 9 to 12 inches wide
Impatiens hawkeri

If constant white blooms are what you’re looking for in a shady area, white New Guinea impatiens will do the trick. Their dark, glossy leaves look stunning in daylight but disappear at night, making the flowers look like they're floating.

Common name: New Guinea impatiens
USDA zones: 10 to 12
Light requirement: Partial sun to shade
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 1 foot to 2 feet tall and wide
Carex ‘Ice Dance’

Carex 'Ice Dance' has thin, strappy leaves with white margins.The texture of the grass-like leaves mixes well with broad leaves of hosta or Heuchera.

Common name: Sedge
USDA zones: 5 to 9
Light requirement: Partial sun to shade
Water requirement: Medium to wet moisture
Size: 9 to 12 inches tall and 1 foot to 2 feet wide
Brunnera

The silvery-white foliage of Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ (shown) and ‘Looking Glass’ are luminous under a moonlit sky. As a perennial Brunnera can be planted in the garden as summer wanes. In the early spring you can enjoy the pale blue forget-me-not flowers during the daylight.

Common name: Siberian bugloss
USDA zones: 3 to 7
Light requirement: Partial shade
Water requirement: Medium moisture
Size: 9 to 18 inches tall and 6 to 18 inches wide
Plectranthus forsteri

The spreading habit of Plectranthus forsteri is perfect for spilling over the edge of containers. The white edges of this variegated plant light up at night.

Common name: Swedish ivy
USDA zones: 10 to 11
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Water requirement: Dry to medium moisture
Size: 9 to 12 inches tall and 1 foot to 3 feet wide

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