Why Cestrum Nocturnum (Night Blooming Jasmine) Flowers at Night

The long tubular bell-shaped flowers of cestrum nocturnum, a.k.a. Night Blooming Jasmine open at night to release their Heavenly perfume. Whilst during the day they are tightly

cestrum nocturnum flowers tightly closed and slightly drooping during day

shut and drooping, at night they lift upwards and open wide to reveal an attractive star-shaped entrance passage.

This is to allow night pollinators, like moths or humming birds to enter and extract the

Parts of a flower

How Flowers pollinate

nectar from the base of the petals. Their bodies rub against the stamen and the sticky pollen at the ends of the stamen sticks to them. From there the pollen is easily transferred (by accident) to the stigma which is the female part of the flower.

As those night pollinators dance from one flower to another, they ensure the pollination of the flowers which leads to seeds, which is how plants replicate themselves.

All evening and night-scented plants require to be able to attract those night pollinators.

cestrum nocturnum flowers open and erect at night

With poor visibility, nocturnal insects and small birds depend on their olfactory senses more so than those who are active during the day, and plants assist them by emitting a highly perfumed aroma that they can smell from miles away.

Our human sense of smell is nowhere nearly so highly tuned, but we can still enjoy the perfume of night -scented plants from a much closer proximity.

It can be argued, however, the cestrum nocturnum (Night Blooming Jasmine) has quite possibly the strongest scent flower in world, as we humans can smell it from 50 yards away, which, in human terms, is pretty amazing.

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Propagating Cestrum Nocturnum

Propagating cestrum nocturnum is not difficult.

Quite often, cuttings of cestrum nocturnum will root if simply placed in a glass of water. Ideally, for this you want to snip off a longish branch from the parent shrub – perhaps up to 18″ long – and place in a container of water in a sunny or bright situation.

Roots take some time to form, so change the water often.

It is nice if you cut off a flowering branch, because then you can enjoy the perfume of the flowers indoors during the evening while you await the roots forming.

Cestrum nocturnum tends to throw out roots eventually whether or not the cutting is young (this years growth) or woody (last year’s growth).

If you prefer, you can take a much shorter cutting and place in compost filled pot. Water well and seal inside a plastic bag, and keep in a light and warm position until you see signs of new growth.

Remove from bag, water well and place pot on a saucer or other container to catch the drips. Pot on when you see signs of the roots appearing through the bottom of the pot.

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Cestrum Nocturnum Photos

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Preferred Growing Conditions of Cestrum Nocturnum

The preferred growing conditions of cestrum nocturnum are ideally in USDA zones 9 and above, or equivalent wherever you are in the world.

Tolerate only a slight Degree of Frost

This means that they can tolerate frost in the winter, but only a mild frost. Once established, they have been known to survive temperatures as low as -10C/14F, but at this low temperature the whole plant will be killed right back to ground level. They are quick growers and should recover in the spring.

However, you may find that young or immature plants are not so lucky, so some form of protection should be offered if you face an unusually cold night – perhaps plastic bubble wrap right round the base of the plant, else cardboard or any other material that should offer your cestrum nocturnum some protection.

Cestrum nocturnum love the sun and plenty of it, and some protection from cold or strong winds which will damage their leaves.

Soil pH and Watering Needs

They tolerate both slightly acidic or alkaline soils, and only require copious amounts of water when immature, as once they are established, they have an extensive root system to search out a water supply.

Insect Tolerance

Cestrum nocturnum are not generally affected by any insects.

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Cestrum Nocturnum

Cestrum Nocturnum

Cestrum nocturnum has possibly the strongest scented flowers in the world. Yet the flowers are insignificant during the day when the slender greenish-white tubular bells are closed over.

But on  a warm summer evening, their petals open to release the most intoxicating perfume into the night air.

Cestrum nocturnum, perhaps better known as the Night Flowering Jasmine, Night Scented Jasmine, Night Blooming Jasmine, Lady of the Night, Dama de Noche and Galan de Noche is one of the most wonderful plants on the planet, and one no home should be without.

This site is dedicated to this wonderful plant which grows naturally in sub-tropical regions of the world, but may need some help to grow in more temperate climates.

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