Halloween is coming soon and, since black is a color associated with this holiday, I thought it would be appropriate to do a post on black plants.
Adding these specimens to your roster of garden plants adds a dramatic look that will transform any outdoor space into a goth garden. Many of these plants can also be grown in planters which makes them ideal for Halloween decorating.
I have talked about Halloween plants in a previous post but, for today’s article, we will concentrate only on black plants and black flowering plants.
The delightful contrast of these deeply colored plants, when combined with lighter plants is amazing. Keep reading to learn how you can achieve this goth garden look with black plants.
Are there actually black plants in nature?
True black flowers, like true blue blooms, are quite rare. Most flowers that are described as black are actually deep purple, deep brown, deep green, or deep maroon.
Add to this the problem of watering and you will discover why black plants are hard to find in nature. Black plants require extra moisture, since their dark color attracts the sunlight and makes them more susceptible to withering and fading.
Soil pH also plays a part with these black plants since plant color often changes depending on the location of the plant or it’s soil pH.
The dark color of black plants is caused by a pigment found in the plant’s cells called anthocyanin. Chlorophyll is the pigment which causes the normal green color. It absorbs all the colors from the light spectrum except green.
On the other hand anthocyanin absorbs only green and yellow, which makes the leaves look almost black.
Black perennial plants for a goth garden
If you are trying to create more of a goth look in your garden, try one of these perennials. Whether they be black or almost black plants, they will add drama like no other color.
Black mondo grass
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrenscens’, also known as black mondo grass, heads the line up for a plant that is true black. The plant is perennial in zones 5-10. It is also evergreen, so it will keep its deep color all year long.
Be sure to plant black mondo grass in a sunny spot. It likes part sun in hot climates and full sunlight in cooler ones. Too much shade will fade the notable blackness of mondo grass.
Black mondo grass sends out berries in late fall. Ripe berries are also completely black or very dark purple.
Coral bells plum pudding
Many coral bells have deeply colored leaves but heuchera ‘plum pudding’ leaves are deeply plum colored which looks almost black.
The white and pink flowers appear in mid June on tall flower stalks. This plant is perfect for edging in a shade garden. It is also stunning in rock gardens.
Heuchera will grow indoors as a lower light houseplant. Select a spot that receives medium to bright indirect light, and water when the soil starts to dry out in the top couple of inches.
Other black coral bells plants to grow:
- Heuchera x villosa ‘Mocha’ – The leaves start out coppery colored in spring, and darken to charcoal black by summer.
- Heuchera black pearl – This is a stunning black foliage plant with jet black leaves and rosy purple undersides.
- Heuchera Northern Exposure ‘Black‘ – Has clean lines with round black leaves and it keeps its color longer in the season than other heuchera plants.
Black lenten rose
The flowers have muted shades in powdery blue to the deepest of purple black. Trim old leaves in late winter for maximum impact.
Most hellebores are cold hardy in zones 4-9.
Other helleborus plants with black or almost black flowers are these:
- Helleborus niger – In this case, the name ‘niger‘, which means black, refers to the color of the roots not to black flowers or or black leaves.
- Helleborus’Dark and Handsome’ – The plant bears flowers that are near black to black-purple and 2½-3″ in size.
- Onyx Odyssey Hellebore – This variety features nodding deep purple cup-shaped flowers with pale green eyes at the ends of the stems. The flowers appear from late winter to early spring.
Halfeti black rose
Many florists would like to convince us that black roses are common by using dye. However, true black roses do not exist, with one exception – the Halfeti black rose.
This true black rose exists in the village of Halfeti, in Southern Turkey. The reason that these roses are completely black is because the soil in the village has a high density and also contains the water soluble anthocyanins which react to soil pH.
Even in this village, the roses only turn black in the summer months. For the rest of the year, they are a very dark red color.
While we cannot enjoy this black rose in our gardens, there are some varieties have been bred so that the normal rose color is almost black. Some to look for are:
- Rosa ‘Almost Black’ – I can’t think of a better name to describe this deep crimson red rose than to call it ”Almost Black”.
- Rosa ‘Black Baccara’ – The petals of this rose start out black but, as they unfurl, they turn to a rich burgundy red.
- Rosa ‘Black Magic’ – This is the most popular red rose in the market today. The bud of this rose is very black but the mature rose is burgundy red.
Black Barlow columbine
Like most columbines, the plant is short-lived, but it will self-seed, so your garden will have it for a long time.
Fortunately for us, rabbit and deer don’t like this columbine, but hummingbirds and bees do!
Black Barlow columbine is cold hardy in zones 3-9.
This perennial grows to five feet in height and is hardy in zone 3-9.
Check out this post to learn more about growing hollyhocks.
Green Wizard Coneflower
Unlike some other varieties of coneflowers, Rudbeckia occidentalis ‘Green Wizard’ is not drought tolerant. It does best in soil that is consistently moist.
The flowers are deep purple to black on top of green bracts.
Andean Silver-Leaf Sage
Salvia discolor – is a perennial herb that is hardy in zones 3-9. It grows 1-3 feet tall and has dark purple, almost blackish-purple flowers.
Andean silver-leaf sage is deer resistant and drought tolerant.
Deadheading the flowers ensures more blooming throughout the season. This plant is also known as Peruvian or Concolor Sage.
Be sure to check out my post for growing sage for more information.
More black plants for your garden – bulbs and rhizomes
So far, we have talked about a group of black perennials to grow in a goth garden. Now let’s have a look at some black bulbs and rhizomes that are useful in creating a dramatic garden look.
Since bulbs can be forced to grow indoors, one of these might be the perfect choice for some black Halloween plants decor.
Black Bat Flower
If you’re looking for something that is both beautiful and sinister, then you need Tacca chantrieri!
Also known as the Bat Flower or Bat Plant, I first discovered this mysterious beauty on a tour of the conservatory in Biltmore Estate and Gardens.
This exotic beauty has unusual long whiskered blooms that look like a bat in flight. These bulbs might require a little extra care, but they are well the effort.
The bulb is only hardy in zones 10 and 11, but you can grow it indoors in a pot with indirect sunlight. Imagine this bat as a decoration at your Halloween party?
Queen of Night Tulip
The botanical name of this deeply colored variety is Tulipa ‘Queen of the Night’. It has stunning dark, deep purple that looks almost black in the right light.
Intersperse this tulip with some lighter colors for a very dramatic effect. The tulip is cold hardy in zones 2-9 and the bulbs can be forced in pots indoors.
The velvety, maroon-black blooms grow on long sturdy stems which are wonderful in fresh-flower arrangements. It is a very long-lasting tulip.
Another almost black tulip is Black Parrot Tulip – It has wavy, heavily frilled blooms of a very dark shade.
Be sure to check out my post for growing tulips in warm climates.
Black calla lily
‘Black Calla Lily’ – Arum palaestinum – is a flowering perennial in the arum family. The plant is is native to eastern Mediterranean areas.
It has trowel-shaped foliage that emerges from the rhizome in the fall and it forms a clump that stays green all winter. However, in spring the dark purplish-black bloom appears.
The outside of the spear shaped bloom is light green.
The plant gives off the odor of rotting fruit which attract flies that pollinate it. It is dormant during the summer.
Black calla lily is cold hardy in zones 7b to 10a. Get more tips for growing calla lilies here.
Black elephant ear
Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ is grown for its spectacular deep greenish-black foliage. It has large heart shaped leaves that look lovely when grown in contrast near paler colored plants such as arrowhead plants.
This frost-tender perennial is cold hardy in zones 8-10. In these zones, it is evergreen which makes the large leaves a good back drop for other plants.
For those in colder climates, black elephant ear plant makes a good indoor plant if you have a large container.
Black as black iris
There are many iris varieties which are labeled as black but most look to be a very deep purple. The purple-black petals of Black as Black iris are one of the most black shades.
It is breathtaking in a garden when planted with white and other light colored irises.
This iris is a bearded type with 9-12 flowers per stem. The bulbs are cold hardy in zones 4-9. Bloom time is mid-summer.
Learn more about growing irises here.
Three other deep purple-black iris varieties to try are these:
- Iris nigricans ‘Dark Vader’ – Lots of beautiful purple-black flowers with yellow throats.
- Iris ‘Superstition’ – A dark beauty with deep purple-black flowers (among the darkest!)
- Iris ‘Before the Storm’ – This iris is also widely called one of the darkest of the darks.
Other bulbs with black blooms
Some other bulb varieties with black or nearly black flowers are these:
- Hyacinthus ‘Midnight Mystique’ – This variety is rare and sought after with its almost black blooms.
- Hyacinthus ‘Dark Dimension’ – This is one of the darkest hyacinths sold.
Black annual plants for a goth garden
Annual plants are those which grow and flower in one season and then die. Almost all annuals can be grown in containers, making them a great choice to grow indoors as black plants for Halloween decor.
Black Prince Coleus
Plectranthus scutellarioides is a tall annual which is suitable for growing as a houseplant. It has nearly black leaves with green margins.
Find out more about growing coleus here.
Pansy black beauty
Viola ‘Black Beauty’ is one of the few violas with black flowers. It blooms throughout the summer. Pinching back the plant encourages it to stay compact and full.
This viola is hardy in zones 5 to 9 and is evergreen . The flowers are edible and look lovely as a plate garnish.
The plant is stunning when grown in a container with plants of contrasting colors such as white alyssum.
Fun fact: All pansies are violas but not all violas are pansies. They are both of cool-weather flowers belong to the genus viola.
Two other black violas are Viola x wittrockiana ‘Bowles Black’ and Viola ‘Molly Sanderson’.
Get some tips for growing pansies here.
Black Mamba Petunia
Black mamba petunia is one of the blackest petunias on the market. It is perfect for any goth garden.
The plant has 4″ blooms in midnight black color with a velvety finish. It is heat tolerant and does not need deadheading.
Black mamba petunia does as well in a pot as it does in the garden.
Black indoor plants for a spooky effect
Aside from bulbs and annuals which grow well in containers, these semi tropical indoor plants are the perfect choice for black houseplants. They keep the gardening hobby going year round!
Alocasia Polly African mask
Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’ is also known as African mask elephant ear plant. This indoor plant likes bright indirect sunlight in well draining soil.
In most hardiness zones, African mask elephant ear plant is best grown in a planter year round. It can also be planted directly in the garden but should not be left when the temperatures dip below 60-65°F. ( 15.5-18°C)
This plant has large leaves and grows 2-6 feet tall. The leaves are long and form the shape of elongated hearts or arrowheads.
The common name elephant ears refers to the resemblance of the leaves to the ears of an elephant. The back of the leaves are much more black-like than the front which are really a deep green rather than black.
The front of the leaves have deep light veining on them.
Raven ZZ Plant
Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven’ is a tropical succulent houseplant that is very easy to grow.
This variety has lime green new growth which turns a dramatic purple-black color as it grows. It stores water in its tuber-like rhizome which makes it a cinch to water.
Raven ZZ plant will even grow in dark conditions. It will reach a height and spread of 3 feet at maturity.
Black Velvet Rex Begonia
Begonia ‘Black Velvet’ has deep maple-shaped leaves in an almost black color. It flowers in spring with pink blooms.
This variety likes minimum temperatures of 60° F (15.5° C) since colder temperatures can cause leaf problems.
Black velvet rex begonia makes a great indoor plant.
See my tips for growing begonias here.
Share these black plants on Twitter
If you enjoyed this post about black flowering plants, be sure to share the list with a friend. Here is a tweet to get you started:Black plants add a dramatic effect, turning any normal garden setting into a goth garden. They are perfect for Halloween! Head to The Gardening Cook for my list of black plants to grow. Click To Tweet
Pin this post for growing black plants
Would you like a reminder of this post for black plants for a goth garden? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
You can also watch our video about black plants on YouTube.
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