Have you ever gone through a garden at night? You might notice it’s not as colorful or blooming during the daytime. In this article, we will explore why flowers close up at night and the steps you can take to keep your garden full of life during the nighttime.
Why do Flowers Close Up at Night?
If you ever wander into a field of flowers at night, you might notice that not all of them are blooming. Some flowers can have their petals closed rather than in bloom. But why does it happen?
Many people will mistake their closed-up flowers for being wilted or dead. While true to some plants, this does not apply to all flower plants.
Just like many plants and animals, most have their characteristics as a way to thrive or protect themselves. Most of the time, flowers are the same as well. As a part of their evolution, flowers close up at night due to nyctinasty.
True to the process, the etymology of sleeping flowers came from the Greek “nux,” meaning night, and “nastos,” which means pressed down. Nyctinasty refers to the process of flowers closing at night and opening up during the day and vice versa.
This process is also called sleeping. However, there are no clear explanations as to why this happens. With that said, some theories might explain the process, such as:
1. Flowers Closes To Avoid Freezing
One of the most popular botanist theories on why nyctinasty occur comes from Charles Darwin himself. While studying various evolutionary patterns, he concludes that some flowers close at night due to freezing temperatures.
Day bloomers will close at night to keep their petal cells from being damaged. The day-bloomers have a sleep cycle or nyctinasty that goes along with humans. However, this temperature theory does not explain why not all flowers close at night.
Some flowers do not go along with the freezing theory, as some night bloomers still exist in the northern parts of the hemisphere.
2. Conserve Energy for Pollinators
Another hypothesis is that some flowers are pollinated by bees, which are most active daily. As the flowers are close at night, they can conserve their energy to open and expose themselves to attract pollinators.
This mechanism allows flowers to open their pollen to populate their kind. Opening up during the day gives them more chances of encountering pollinators and spreading the pollen.
The exact process can also be applied to night bloomers. As most pollinators of night bloomers such as bats and moths are active during darkness, they close up during the day.
3. To Protect Itself from Predators
Not all insects are excellent for flowers. As bees, moths, and bats can become an advantage for the plant, they can also cause some damage. By closing the petals at night, the flowers will be protected from the night-robbers.
Through the process of nyctinasty, flowers can conserve their odor and protect themselves away from predators. Their smaller frame can also let them camouflage against nocturnal animals such as owls, known to munch on plants.
4. Due to Light Changes
One of the most known triggers for flowers sleeping is the change from sunlight. Like humans, some flower plants also showcase a body clock. Through the lack or presence of light, the flowers can have their clock restart and continue.
The presence of light can also project the temperature of the environment. As a benchmark, nighttime is much colder than daytime as the sunlight directly affects the humidity.
How do Flowers Sleep?
As stated, flowers close up due to the process of nyctinasty or also called sleeping. Now that we know the various reasons for this process let’s learn how flowers sleep.
First comes the stimuli. Once the sun is gone and it’s colder, the cells in the flower petal will cause a reaction and close it up. To do the process, most flowers have a cell mechanism that facilitates petals’ close and open movement.
Once these cells catch a trigger such as changes in temperature or light, it produces a new cell to close or open the petal. By having this mechanism, the flowers have a better chance of survival. As we know, flowers need their pollen protected to ensure that pollinators.
However, changes in light and temperature are not the only way a flower can sleep. Botanists concluded that flowers could also have circadian rhythms, much like humans. This evolutionary trait can adjust the sleeping pattern of flowers.
Even though plants lack a nervous system in humans, their pattern can also be tuned to the sun cycle through the circadian rhythm. Certain plant particles will keep their rhythm running even with environmental changes. However, with enough stimuli or light manipulation, certain plants can be modeled toward nyctinasty.
For example, most day-bloomers will still close at night even though it’s much hotter than the daytime. It’s a clear indicator that some flower plants follow their circadian rhythm rather than in accordance with the environment changes.
Do all Flowers Close Up at Night?
No, not all flowers close up at night. Although it sounds advantageous initially, not all plants strive to sleep at night. Some plants, such as those that nocturnal insects pollinate, close themselves in the morning.
Some flowers, such as The Night Gladiolus or Gladiolus tristis, open up their petals to attract pollinators. These plants hate a higher chance of reproducing by being open at night and closing in the morning.
This process of assimilation, along with other insects, is an essential part of evolution. Through years and years of development, flowers have adapted to survive. With the evolution process, most flowers are grouped into two: night bloomers and day bloomers.
Day Bloomers vs. Night Bloomers
To elaborate on the two groups of flowers, let’s see the differences and similarities between night bloomers to day bloomers. Knowing that you are searching for this information, you must look forward to changing or learning more about flowers. Let’s see which type of flower is better for you without further ado.
Day bloomers are flowers that open up their petals during the morning. It’s the most common type of flower as it’s generally the configuration of the circadian rhythm. The opening of the flower is commonly triggered by sunlight.
Most day bloomers such as morning glory, daisy, dandelions, and poppy are amongst the most common types of day bloomers. Compared to flowers that open up at night, day bloomers are mostly more colorful.
If you want to decorate your garden with colorful flowers, then day bloomers are the way to go, with purple, yellow, and pink hues at the forefront with this type of flowers. Their strong flowery smell is an excellent start in the morning.
As stated, most night bloomers are the way they are to attract nocturnal pollinators. Bats, moths, and other nocturnal insects are some of the nocturnal pollinators for night bloomers.
Usually, they have a bright color such as white or an off-white petal. It’s an evolutionary trait that makes them stand out from the rest of the plant. With white and clear petals, moths and bats can see them clearly, even without sunlight.
Like day bloomers, night bloomers can release a flowery smell, albeit a little less potent than the former. Night bloomers are excellent if you want your garden to bloom at night rather than in the morning.
Now that we know the flowery difference between a day and night bloomer, you can choose the best type of flowers to accompany your garden. If you are looking forward to where to start, e have a few suggestions of day bloomers you can add to your garden.
Best Day Bloomers You Should Try
Deriving its name from being a day bloomer, morning glory is amongst the most popular flowers. It has a funnel shape petal with a range of colors such as purple and blue. The flower blooms early morning and wilt during the afternoon.
Day Blooming Jasmine
If you are looking for a day blooming flower that is fragrant and bright, Day Blooming Jasmine is an excellent choice. The clear white flowers produce a robust aromatic smell that you will surely not miss.
Ripe with a golden color, dandelion is an excellent addition to your garden. Although considered a weed for most, it can add a pop to the row of plants. It has a little to no smell and is edible not just for rabbits but for humans as well.
Native to the Californian regions, these incredibly bright flowers will bring life to your garden. It has a medium-tall plant with weed-like leaves akin to dandelions. It’s a perfect flower for grassy fields and gardens.
Knowing why flowers close at night can be a fun addition to your knowledge. With added information, you can take the best care of your plants and flowers. You can choose the best flower for your garden with the information about day bloomers.