Don’t sniff at evening scented plants.  One of the most relaxing things to do in your garden after all of the hard work is done is to sit out on a warm summers evening surrounded by the heady scents of perfumed plants drifting along on the warm night air.

Evening scented plants have evolved to attract the insect pollinators that usually fly at dusk such as moths. Their scent is usually enhanced by receiving some afternoon sunshine so for best results plant these flowering plants where the flowers will get some direct sunlight in the afternoon. It is tempting to plant a variety of evening scented plants near to your patio but they may compete with each other and if you have space it is best to plant them separately in different areas of the garden so that you are enticed to take a late stroll around the garden as the light fades and the blackbirds start singing their evening song and take in the balmy summer air.

Many evening scented plants will have a clue in their common name, night scented stocks for example but some are quite a surprise. 5 top plants for evening scents are:

Oenothera sp. (evening primrose) – herbaceous perennials and biennials with yellow or pink flowers emitting a delicious scent in early summer. The flowers last one evening only and each one takes a few minutes to open at dusk, it is super to watch and makes excellent evening entertainment.

Nicotiana sp. (flowering tobacco) – mainly annuals that can easily be grown from seed, some varieties are very tall but dwarf ones are available, lovely sweet evening scent and many will self-seed freely.

Hesperis matronalis (sweet rocket) – Annual, potent sweet scented flowers, easy to grow from seed – or let your salad rocket run to seed!

Matthiola bicornis (night scented stock) another annual, related to the sweet rocket, easy to grow from seed and delicate, pretty scented pink flowers.

Pittosporum sp. A genus of evergreen shrubs usually grown for their attractive variegated foliage but also produce small, chocolate brown flowers close to the stem (not easy to see them – you have to look for them!) in late summer and early autumn. The flowers are vanilla scented and give off a heavenly perfume that lingers into the evening creating beautiful early evening scent.