Flowers in nature create many wonderful colors, but black is not one of them. Unfortunately the pigments flowers use to create the color for their petals simply do not produce black. Hybridizers have been working on this for years and and have had some pretty good success. The reality still is however, that flowers termed as black are really very dark purple.
There seems to be a fascination with black in the flower world and as much as I’m not a total fan, I admit there is something mysterious about a black flower. To be effective in the garden black flowers need to be carefully combined with other plants and colors. Black is very dramatic when paired with silver toned foliage as an example.
Black is also not just found in flowers, you will see it in foliage and the stems and branches of shrubs and trees. Many plants are given the name black when in reality they are the deep, darkest tone of another color. Sometimes the black in the name even refers to just a part of the plant.
I searched around to find some “Black” plants that you might want to try incorporating into your garden. I’ve tried a few myself over the years and should probably think about giving them a try again next season.
TULIPS were some of the first black flowers to hit the market, with “Queen of the Night” and “Black Parrot”. More recently “Paul Scherer” has been introduced, claiming to be the blackest of all.
DAHLIAS come in a few almost black beauties. Look for “Black Beauty”, “Black Satin”, “Lights Out”, or the darkest of all “ Arabian Night”. Planting any of these dahlias alongside pure white flowers makes for a stunning show.
PETUNIAS “Black Cat” and “Black Velvet” are both very black in appearance, and the velvety thickness of the flowers makes them appear even blacker. If you like the double petunia flower look for “Black Night”. I grew “Black Velvet” this year in a container and quite enjoyed it.
IRIS are such an easy plant to grow almost anywhere. Available black toned iris are “Black is Black”, “Black Lightening”, “Black Suited”, “Midnight Run”, “All Night Long”, “Before the Storm”, “Ghost Train”, “Night Owl”, “Superstition”, and “Sambuca”. Lots of cultivars to choose from and easy to find on Iris mail order web sites.
HOLLYHOCK NIGRA or sometimes called “Jet Black” is an heirloom cultivar. A stand of these will make a spectacular showing in your garden.
HEUCHERA is a wonderful foliage plant. The blooms are also attractive but it’s the leaves that show off all summer. Look for “Binoche”, “CoCo”, “Bella Notle”, “Obsidian”, “Black Taffeta” or “Black Beauty”.
ELDERBERRY is a deer resistant shrub with fall fruit that attracts birds. I have been growing “Black Lace” for many years but another cultivar to try is “Black Beauty”.
MONDO GRASS is a short, clump forming hardy grass with dense, purple-black grass like foliage. Use in mass for a stunning edging.
DAYLILIES have hybridizers working 24/7 to come up with a black bloom and some beautiful flowers are the result. “Night Deposit”, “Midnight Magic”, “Night Wings”, “Ebony Jewel”, “Dracula”, “Caribbean Frank League”, “Black Ambrosia” and “Black Ice” are all very very dark purples and reds, almost black.
PANSIES are great small, filler in plants for beds and containers. You can try growing them from seed or buy bedding plants in the spring. Look for “Black Beauty”. Violas or winter pansies to try are “Black Magic” and “Bowles Black”.
PYSOCARPUS DIABOLO is and easy to grow shrub with very dark purple leaves which stand out against the white flowers in spring.
LILIES are easy to grow bulbs. One of the darkest asiatic lilies available is “Black Charm” or “Landini”. “Black Wizard” is pretty good too. If you like CALLA LILIES try “Black Forest”, but if you are a northern gardener be sure to bring them indoors before frost.
ELEPHANT EARS are another tender plant but can be used in containers for northern gardeners to make a huge impact on a patio. Look for “Black Magic”.
ROSES in black, the ultimate for some rose lovers. There is a rare black rose that grows in the village of Halfeti in Turkey. I’ve never seen what I would call a black rose but there are a few very dark purple ones such as “Black Baccara”, “Burgundy Iceberg” or “Claret”.
You will find almost black blooms in other varieties of plants as well. Coleus, Sunflower, Fountain Grass, Hellebore, Sweet William, Delphinium, Glads, Sedum, Bat Orchid and a succulent called Zwartkopaeonium all have claim to a black bloom or leaf.
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(some photos from pixabay) (some links go to my affiliate Amazon account)