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Zaluzianskya capensis

Zaluzianskya capensis with the reddish buds (inset).
Zaluzianskya capensis with the reddish buds (inset). / SUR
  • Round purple buds open into dainty pinwheel white flowers in the evening releasing a pungent scent of marzipan, vanilla and honey

Exquisitely fragrant in the evening, Zaluzianskya capensis, commonly known as Midnight Candy or Nightscented Phlox, is native to South Africa and can be used as a container plant or for ground cover.

It is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family (fig wort) of which there are around 60 species.

The stems are brittle and sticky, as are the aromatic, narrow leaves and the white, pinwheel flowers only open when the sun goes down, releasing their dense perfume all night long.

The flowers close up as the temperature rises during the day.

Midnight Candy is usually grown as a container plant on a patio but it can also be grown as ground cover, forming a compact mound between 45 and 60cm high.

It is not hardy and should be brought indoors in the winter or given protection from frosts. Although it is fast growing, flowering in the summer from a spring sowing, it is not long lived.

Dead heading will encourage Midnight Candy to continue flowering and after a light shearing, it may produce a second flush of blooms. It needs full sun or partial shade and a rich soil. It is not drought resistant and will benefit from regular watering but the soil must be free-draining.

Propagation is relatively easy; producing new plants either from the prolific seeds that can be collected from the dried seed capsules, or from stem tip cuttings.

Zaluzianskya is named after a Bohemian botanist from the sixteenth century called Adam Zaluziansky.