Cestrum nocturnum
Common Name: night jessamine 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Solanaceae
Native Range: West Indies
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 3.00 to 13.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 13.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers freely
Bloom Description: Creamy white to pale green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen


Easily grown in evenly moist, rich, well-draining soils in full sun to part shade. Best blooming in full sun. Hardy in Zones 9-11. Large temperature swings, particularly from high to low, can reduce the fragrance of the blooms. Container grown plants can be overwintered indoors but require a sunny, southern exposure. The fragrant blooms can be almost overwhelming indoors. Takes well to pruning. Propagate through stem cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cestrum nocturnum, commonly called night jessamine or lady of the night, is an evergreen shrub native to lowland thickets, woodland openings, and disturbed areas in the West Indies and from southern Mexico south to Panama. It is widely planted as an ornamental in tropical regions around the world. Mature plants will reach 3-13' tall with a similar spread and an upright, spreading or scrambling habit. The slender, arching branches are clad in elliptic to oblong, 2-6" long and 0.75-1.75" wide leaves. A continuous profusion of tubular, 0.75-1" long, creamy white to pale green flowers bloom in axilary or terminal panicles. The flowers open at night and are extremely fragrant. They are pollinated by moths and other night-flying insects. The blooms are followed by 0.25" long, ovoid to oblong, white berries.

Genus name is from the Greek name for the plant.

The specific epithet nocturnum means "at night" and refers to the night-blooming habit of this species.

The common names night jessamine and lady of the night both refer to the night-blooming habit and fragrant blooms of this species. Although jessamine is another name for jasmine, the two plants are not closely related.


Whiteflies, aphids, and spider mites can be problematic. Poorly drained, waterlogged soils can lead to root rot. The fruits and leaves of this species are known to be poisonous. This plant has escaped cultivation and is considered to be an aggressive weed or invasive in many parts of Oceania including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Samoa. The seeds are spread by birds and the shrubs can form dense thickets and crowd out native vegetation.


Suitable for use in shrub borders, as a hedge, screen, or in container plantings. Place near an entryway, patio, or other location where the fragrant flowers can be easily enjoyed.