Bats like flowers! Bats are attracted to a wide variety of flowers, but there are some common ones they really do seem to enjoy eating — and other types that might just make your garden more interesting for them or for the birds who will eat those bugs (or whatever else) feeding on the nectar in these blooms.
This is an invasive species in North America but it’s native to Asia where it grows wild as part of the prairie grasses. It has lavender bell-shaped blossoms with white petals at night during summertime when nocturnal insects are active. The bees that pollinate this plant love its purple color.
If you have a lot of moths you may also want to grow black-eyed susan because their caterpillars feed on the foliage of both plants. This one likes full sun so if you’re planting in shady areas consider taking care to give it extra light.
The evening primrose gets its name from the fact that it blooms after sundown. These beautiful yellowish orange flowers bloom between mid July through September depending upon the weather.
There are about 25 different kinds of evening primroses, all natives of eastern U.S., including New Jersey, Virginia, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
They prefer partial shade and moist soil, which makes them ideal for rock gardens. In the Southwestern states they often get confused for morning glory since they flower later in the day than those popular vines. Their stems typically grow 4 feet tall while most morning glories only reach 2 feet. Evening primroses need plenty of water, especially in hot climates, and mulching helps retain moisture.
To extend the season past early autumn, cut back new growth when leaves change colors. After frost danger passes, let go of any dead stem tips left over. Seeds should be planted 1/4 inch deep and 1/3 to 3 inches apart within rows spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. When seedlings emerge thin out until every 5th plant is removed to encourage bushier plants. Plant seeds deeper under glass in late winter to start sprouting next spring. Once established leave well alone unless you wish to remove older clumps to enlarge beds or transplant elsewhere.
These bright green daisy-type flowers come up in August and stay into October. You’ll see them growing along roadsides, meadows, fields, and in disturbed soils such as abandoned lawns.
A few varieties have red centers or even pink centers. This is yet another favorite insect food source for bumblebees, butterflies, moths, ants, aphids, and hoverflies. Soil needs to be rich with organic matter. Partial shade works best in warm places.
Avoid letting them dry out by watering deeply once per week. During extreme heat protect them with floating row cover. Remove spent blossoms before seeds mature to prevent self-seeding. Divide and transplant old plants each fall.
Leave small divisions together or scatter throughout bed. Dig larger divisions loose around border or in corner of yard. If desired, sow seeds directly behind last year’s plants. Then pull weeds, cover young plants lightly with mulch, and keep area watered. Seed germination takes two weeks. Thin plants once first true leaf appears.
Moonflowers are named for their resemblance to constellations; hence, their Latin names Selenostyles oppositifolia and Selenostyle stenophylla. Native Americans used moonflower bulbs as charms to call down good luck. Early settlers called them Star Flowers because of their star shape.
Native American legend says that the stars were made of dew dropped from these flowers. Moonlight plays a role too with the way they look at night. Bees find the tiny tubular flowers attractive enough to become honey producers. Even though they don’t produce much pollen, the bee population continues to thrive. The large clusters of tiny white flowers appear in June and continue through the end of August.
Moonflowers like lots of sunshine so avoid placing them near trees and shrubs that cast shadows over them. One of the easiest ways to propagate them is simply divide the bulb after flowering stops. Sow seeds indoors 6 to 9 months before final frost date. Set pots outside in very mild temperatures. Cover with cloth to maintain warmth. Water sparingly. Keep soil slightly wet. Sprouts usually pop up in 7 days. Space 10 inches apart in rows 16 to 24 inches apart. Make sure not to disturb roots. Transplant whole after danger of frost subsides. Protect newly transplanted plants with plastic tunnels or hoops. Let them acclimatize gradually outdoors.
Known for having little tufts of hairs instead of real thorns, goldenrods are easy to take care of and quite hardy. They have long silvery leaves with reddish veins that turn silver in the sunlight. Grown mainly for their colorful flowers, they can tolerate poor soil conditions.
However, they prefer sandy loam with peat moss added. Be careful of deer damage. Since they require less maintenance than many perennials, they are fairly inexpensive to buy. Some people think of goldenrods as being similar to aster family members although they differ greatly. Asteraceae includes ragweed, dandelion, chrysanthemum, and zinnia.
Many people spray them with herbicides hoping to kill off competition from non-native plants. But this kills the beneficial bacteria living inside the root nodules that actually break down nitrogen compounds and release nutrients into the soil. Instead, add compost, manure, humus, or peat moss to enrich the soil. Each year dig up and replant the entire plant.
That way you won’t lose precious microorganisms needed to decompose the waste products produced by the plant. Also, use a trowel to carefully scrape away the topsoil exposing the lower layers of the ground. Spread fresh dirt evenly over exposed earthworms’ homes. Finally, sprinkle granulated fertilizer over the surface. With proper attention, goldenrods can live for 20 years or longer.
If you’ve ever been stung by a tobacco hornworm then you know how painful it can be. Hornworms aren’t pests at all. They are our friends because they help control populations of destructive worms. Tobacco hornworms lay eggs that eventually hatch winged grub larvae that burrow underground looking for tender shoots of sweet potato or yucca plants.
As soon as the grubs begin tunneling toward the base of a host plant, the mother hornworm emerges from her hiding place and lays hundreds of tiny brown eggs among the tuber flesh. She covers them with soil and returns to her shelter. Soon, millions of baby hornworms crawl out of the egg masses and run straight for the nearest tasty treat.
By doing this she protects the plants against destruction caused by boring worms. Most of us are familiar with tobacco mosaic virus disease symptoms. Fortunately, we can stop worrying about this problem because nicotiana solves three problems for one price. First, it attracts hornworms. Second, it offers them protection. And third, it provides a natural pesticide to ward off harmful parasites, fungus gnats, and aphids. No wonder it’s known as ‘the kissing vine.’
It’s fun watching honeysuckles clinging to trellises or fence posts. Not only does it provide beauty, but it’s said to repel mosquitoes. Its fragrant, sticky, trumpet-shaped flowers open slowly in response to low levels of daylight. Hummingbirds visit the flowers seeking sugar syrup.
Honey suckle produces berries that contain poisonous juice. Although rare, children can suffer severe rashes from touching the leaves and twigs. Other dangers include cats stepping on them, dogs chewing on them, and squirrels stealing the ripe fruit.
Honeysuckle prefers full sun and acid soil. It requires regular pruning to keep itself healthy. Dead wood must always be trimmed away to allow air circulation. Prune to stimulate branching. Mulching adds further nutrition. Feed strawberries, mint, thyme, oregano, or rosemary nearby.
Asters, coneflowers, forget-me-nots, and four o’clocks are all related to the sunflower. All belong to the aster family whose common ancestor was probably a giant lily pad. At least several million years ago, its ancestors evolved into what we now recognize as modern-day composites.
Because of their ability to withstand harsh winters, these hardy annuals tend to show up everywhere – roadside, beside railroad tracks, along fences, and in neglected yards. Like all comers, however, they compete fiercely for sunlight and space. Unlike roses, they have thick sturdy stems rather than fragile canopies. Leaves range from serrated to lobbed.
Colors vary widely, ranging from pure blue to chartreuse green to purples, pinks, oranges, reds, and whites. Usually, cultivar groups have distinctive characteristics such as long petals or pointed petals (like a little finger). Some varieties have short stem leaves with three lobes while others have long stems with three lobes as well as broad oval leaves with five lobes that resemble a butterfly wing tip or sword tip.
Datura is a genus of flowering plants in the family Solanaceae which includes deadly nightshade (belladonna) and jimsonweed (Atropa belladonna). The name datura comes from the Greek word “dauros” – meaning “burdensome” – referring to the plant’s tendency to grow very quickly and cover large areas of ground in just a few short years with no apparent support structure whatsoever!