Regular flowers usually stay in full bloom for several weeks or even a few months straight without closing once.
This sentiment does not always apply to every flower variety, however. Their petals are pulled shut at night (just like us humans going to sleep), only to spring open the next morning.
To learn why they do so, keep scrolling through my list of 18 flowers that close at night.
18 Flowers That Close At Night
African daisies, crocus, dandelion, lotus, evening primrose, and sunflowers are some examples of flowers that close up at night.
Their petals open up to greet a new day and close up when night comes just like a human’s biological clock!
Check the full list below.
Unlike some of their daisy siblings, African daisies close at night to turn their blooms into colors similar to the exposed low petals, disguising themselves against vicious herbivores.
Why all the trouble? Researchers from South Africa have discovered that tortoises (the most popular daisy herbivores) struggle to differentiate between African daisies’ low petal surfaces and the green leaf backgrounds.
Since tortoises prefer protein-rich blooms over leaves, this color similarity lends our African daisies numerous survival advantages – hence their closing when the light goes out.
As one of the earliest-blooming flowers in springs, Cocus offers numerous pollen values for bumble bees.
After all, most other flowers only bloom in late spring or even early summer, making Crocus among the very few available feeding sources for these insects.
No wonder people often see them fluttering around Crocus clusters all day and night!
Crocuses adore sunshine but tend to close up during cloudy days or when night comes – a phenomenon scientists refer to as “Nyctinasty.”
A Charles Darwin theory attributed this movement to protections against low temps.
Still, nowadays, the more widely-accepted hypothesis is that Crocus is trying to safeguard its pollen from rain and dew.
Dandelion plants produce yellow flowers that close at night; specifically, their head can spring open and shut close according to light intensity (or lack thereof).
More specifically, there is water vapor at the radial center of its parachute, which swells under moisture and adjusts to the climate like an umbrella.
There are several reasons why the dandelions choose to shut themselves down when night arrives.
For one, resting their petals when needed allow the dandelions to store and conserve more energy for future activities and productions. Secondly, the pollen can be protected better from dew or rain that way.
Like most other flowers on my list, Gazania is nyctinastic, meaning their petals close at low light intensities to protect the plant’s most reproductive parts.
Experts suggest giving Ganazia as much sunlight as possible – full sun will be even better.
Any slightest shade might put the plants at risk of foliage problems (powdery mildew, for instance); not to mention, their stems will grow leggy and unnecessarily stretched.
Aside from lighting, Gazania is basically low-maintenance and can thrive in almost every situation – from trailing ground cover to container gardens.
They can serve as excellent edging decorations for your walkways.
What are flowers that open in the morning and close at night? Coming next is Kalanchoe.
Their blooms grow brand-new cells upon its external petal base, forcing themselves to shut down at night.
The reverse happens the next morning – when new cells are produced from within to push the petals open again.
Pollen protection is the most likely explanation for this behavior.
Still, most gardeners concur that Kalanchoe does not just do it to keep the pollen from harm; it seems the plant itself is very sensitive to bright light.
As such, unlike other flowers, Kalanchoe requires very long nights (12 to 14 hours, complete darkness) for full rebloom.
To achieve it, simply place the flower in a space room, closet, or even under a box for six to eight weeks every night.
What flowers close at night that are aquatic? The most famous aquatic herbaceous plant ever known, lotus, does not share the same life cycle with similar-nature flowers.
It thrives on mud to produce bright blooms that last only two days. And during this very brief lifespan, the buds shut off every night only to reopen the very next day, untouched and pure.
Their exceptional brilliance amidst muddy waters stems from what people dub “the lotus effects”.
These “effects” point to the leaf’s self-cleaning nodules, which cause the dirt and droplets to roll off on their own.
This incredible physical renewal also explains why many cultures regard lotus as the symbol of purity and spiritual enlightenment.
In cool air or darkness, the flower’s bottom petals grow faster than their upper counterparts, forcing shut the entire bloom at night.
Their flowers that open in the sun and close at night clearly explains where the title “Morning Glory” comes from!
Beginners often confuse Morning Glory (Ipomoea genus) with Field Bindweed (Convolvulus genus). Sure, both are climbing vines and have a lot in common.
However, note that morning glory has wide, flat leaves shaped like hearts, while Bindweed’s feathery leaves look like small arrowheads.
Poppies are temperamental flowers, closing up on windy, cold days or at night.
In certain regions where winters are extremely chilly, poppies act like an annual and renew themselves from seeds every year.
To many’s relief, poppies do not take much to grow: simply sow their seeds at shallow depth (1/16 inches) in early spring or fall of mild climates.
The seed will immediately germinate at the slightest soil warmth or after the season’s first rainfall.
For summer poppies, their blooms usually show up in late spring or early summer.
And after a few weeks, the top dies back, turning the plants into dormant modes for the rest of the hot summer months.
Most sunflowers will close off their petals during late evenings/nights to safeguard the center of the flowers from cold temperatures.
While scientists are still working towards a proper explanation for these behaviors, it has always been quite obvious to everyone that sunflowers are uniquely and exclusively tuned to the sun’s every movement.
At night, their faces even turn to the west side – where the sun has just set! And when the sun rises again, the flowers will turn correctly to the east, as if to say Hello to the sun.
However, note that this ability is only observable when the flower and the plant are still connected.
Suppose you cut the sunflower from its plant; then the petals obviously cannot open due to the lack of phototropism.
The tulip closes its petals to keep the pollen/reproductive parts well-protected, ready to lurk onto hungry insects the very next morning.
Aside from nighttime, you will find them closed in rainy or cloudy conditions, too – which is actually a good sign of healthy, self-aware tulips.
So there is no need to worry if your moon gardens suddenly close off during the daytime.
And needless to say, trying to water these nyctinastic plants under such circumstances is not a very wise idea.
As the plant refuses to take in any water (or only takes in very little), the unused water will drip into the soil, making it soggy and damp.
Buddhists or Hinduists will find themselves familiar with the image of water lilies.
Their closing and opening at night/in the morning are compared to spiritual rebirths, making them a long-standing symbol of growth and resurrection!
Waterlilies can thrive in almost any water body – from small streams and lakes to large ponds.
Hence, we are unsurprised that these stunners are divided into at least 50 unique species, differing from each other in terms of sweet fragrance, color, size, shape, and even blooming pattern.
By the time of this writing, Giant Water Lily is the largest water lily species, whose massive petals reach 6 feet in diameter and support a total load of 66 pounds.
Even a small child can perch on their pads without difficulties!
Moss roses arrive with saucer-shaped, delicate flowers produced on the tip of the stem. They open from small buds that look like small popcorn kernels, held facing beyond the foliage.
This is a type of flower that closes at night, during rainy/cloudy seasons, or just whenever shades are present.
Hence, planting them under full or partial shade is clearly a fool’s move since zero blooms will occur. Sure, the plants can still survive – but all they offer is pure foliage, no colors at all!
To avoid such disasters, choose a shiny area for them (at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight). The more sun they get, the faster they bloom!
Day Blooming Cestrums
Day-blooming cestrums are named as such due to their tubular, white-yellow flowers that close up once the sun sets.
While they indeed look gorgeous, it is the distinctive scents that make these flowers well known.
Some experts even laud them as the strongest fragrance ever known, whose sweet release can pervade 300 to 500 feet.
These ornamental plants thrive best in subtropical areas or regions of temperate climate (where winter temp does not stoop below minus 10 degrees C).
Still, at that low temperature, expect the flowers to lose all their new leaves and growths.
Purple Wine Cup
This beautiful groundcover perennial plant starts blooming in spring – before forming an evergreen, sprawling mat that explodes in vivid purple in April.
As the name suggests, purple is clearly the most popular shade – though you might still find rarer white varieties in between.
Their flowers that close at night and open during the day can last for weeks. Consider deadheading all the spent flowers to extend the blooming time a little.
Provided great soil condition, these purple flowers can thrive on any terrain. They work well with gravelly, shallow areas – or even landscapes with small cracks in between the pavers.
Which flowers close at night?
Like others on this list, bloodroots only open when the fly pollinators or bees are still active (meaning daytime). They will close during evenings or even on extremely cloudy days.
Their white flowers can expand to two inches in diameter in spring and last about 14 days.
Each stalk produces one solitary flower, whose yellow center and stamens are wrapped by long, delicate petals.
There are eight petals in total – four large and four smaller – all symmetrically arranged. A few varieties raise the number to a whopping sixteen, but they are much less common.
Upright and deciduous, Rose of Sharon is a spreading shrub with numerous trunks. Except for flowering seasons, its branches always stay upright; you will never catch a single moment of them drooping down.
Sharon’s flowers are shaped like small trumpets of 2 to 4 inches in diverse colors of purple, violet, red, or pink. They are open throughout the day and close when night comes.
Creamy-white, fragrant flowers show up on each tough and thick stem. They are a sight to behold with elegant cup shape, six wide petals, and 8 inches in diameter.
Their blossoms usually open up at 9 in the morning, then close when night comes for 3 days straight. After that, the flowers reopen, grow brown, and eventually disintegrate.
Also known as Spring Cactus, Easter Cactus delivers lots of vibrant, cheerful flower colors from March to May. The star-shaped flowers crack open in daylight and close after sunset, lasting 2 to 3 weeks.
Their incredible adaptability to epiphytic environments makes them an excellent choice for gardeners seeking houseplants.
They can grow even in dry conditions or partial sun, and are so low-maintenance that you are even welcome to neglect their watering at times!
Why Do Flowers Close At Night?
As indicated in the list above, some flowers open and close daily due to at least one of the following reasons:
- To store energy
- To protect the pollen
- To safeguard themselves against rain and dew
- To disguise themselves against herbivores (African daisies are a pronounced example)
Flowers that close at night do so for a reason, and my insightful list has explored all the 18 most common examples.
Extra tips on watering and caring are also provided for certain species; keep them in mind and write to me if you still have questions about this matter.