Zaluzianskya capensis ‘Midnight Candy’ (Zal-oo-zee-AN-skee-uh) Night Phlox
I read about this remarkable little annual from South Africa earlier this year and bought some seeds to try. It was said to be one of the most intensely fragrant flowers which could fill a room or patio with its strong scent in the evening. During the day it sits quietly with its flower buds tightly closed in little purple capsules waiting for nightfall. When the sun goes down the flowers begin to open and the scent begins. The fragrance intensifies as the evening wears on and when it is totally dark the pure white flowers fully open to reveal their true purpose, to attract moths and other night flying insects to pollinate it in the course of drinking its rich nectar.
The scent is rather sickly sweet, it reminds me of pink bubble gum. I read another description which was ‘candied talcum powder’ so you get the idea! For a small plant it packs a powerful punch and just a small pot is enough. If you like sweet scent give it a try next year. It’s easy to grow and maintain, likes lots of water and a sunny spot. Like many flowers that open and close with the sun, it seems to last for weeks and doesn’t need constant dead-heading. Eventually it produces lots of seed to keep for the following year.