Sleeping Beauties – Flowers that Close Up at Night

Plants are amazing in their complexity and habit.  There is an intriguing collection of plants that close up at night – a phenomenon called nyctinasty.  Nyctinasty is thought to protect pollen and nectar or to protect the plant from cool, chilling temperatures.  Sometimes this tendency confuses people into thinking that something is wrong when they close up during the day under low light conditions.  Here is a list of these little tricksters so you can be on the lookout for them:


  • California Poppies – simple 4 petaled flower that closes up in low light
  • Gazanias – pollinated by butterflies during the day, fold up in low light
  • Hibiscus – blossoms open for  just 1 day and then close at night; usually do not reopen
  • Morning Glory – bloom in the early morning, close at night, blossom lasts 1 day
  • Osteospermum – also known as African Daisies
  • Oxalis – also known as a purple shamrock with delicate white flowers, foliage folds upward
  • Portulaca – also known as Rock Roses, a native of South America butterfly attractor
  • Talinum – whimsical pink flowers on spires atop chartreuse foliage that folds upwards at night


  • Sanguinaria – white daisy-esque flowers with yellow eyes


  • Crocus –  close on cloudy and rainy days
  • Tulips –  close on cloudy and rainy days