The Strange Seduction of Black Flowers - How to Use Them in your Garden | PITH + VIGOR by Rochelle Greayer

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The Strange Seduction of Black Flowers – How to Use Them in your Garden

5/30/2022

Plants with black flowers and dark foliage are uncommon and defy our expectations of nature. It is their very difference that makes them so appealing, as we humans seem to be drawn to anomalies.
Black flowers are useful in garden design, partly because they are curiosities. By weaving these strangely wonderful plants into our gardens, we can add interest, intrigue and sophistication.

black plants for your garden

To make the most of Black flowers and plants in your garden follow these guidelines:

Marry dark with light.

To maximize the impact of dark-colored foliage and black flowers, look for opportunities to create contrast. Interesting color partners include lime green, silver, white, cream, pale yellow, lavender and soft pink.

Don’t hide black flowers in the shadows.

Dark-colored plants are difficult to see in the shade. Planting them in a sunny spot is far more effective. Dark glossy petals and shiny black leaves take on a silvery sheen in the sun, adding another level of visual interest. Sunlight typically intensifies deep pigments, so most of these plants are at their darkest when grown in the sun.

black garden plants and flowers

Venture beyond the garden.

Plants with dark flowers and foliage are as exciting in the landscape as they are in containers and perennial gardens. Look for shrubs such as Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ (ornamental elderberry), Cotinus
coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ (purple smokebush) and Berberis ‘Crimson Pygmy’ (red-leaf barberry).

Bring them indoors, too.

High-end florists love black flowers for their chic style and elegance. Give your flower arrangements a touch of magic by growing cut flower favorites such as Dahlia ‘Nuit d’Ete,’ Gladiolus ‘Espressso,’ Allium atropurpureum, Zantedeschia ‘Night Cap,’ Scabiosa ‘Black Knight’ and Centaurea ‘Black Gem.’

Plants, images and links to purchase items in the post:

Top image (clockwise)

Black Beauty Gladiolus – Photo by Margaret Jaszowska on Unsplash. Queen of the Night Tulips – also consider Black Parrot Tulips image by Job Vermeulen. Photo by Emmanuel Ben-Paul on Unsplash. Jack Spratt New Zealand Flax – Phormium Photo by laura adai on Unsplash. Photo by Andrew Neel for similar large black leaves try Black Coral Elephant Ear. Aeonium Arboreum Schwarzkopf image by alevision.co.

Bottom (clockwise)

Verones Obsidian Dahlia from Brecks. Pepper joe black prink seeds image by Laura Ockel. Barbara King Dubai Nights Calla Lily – image by Kalden Swart. Queen of the Night Tulips – also consider Black Parrot Tulips image by HS Spender. Polarnacht rhododendron has dark purple flowers. Rhododendron Black Hat has purple leaves. Photo by Krišjānis Kazaks. Red Fire Hydrange – image by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash.

You might also like:

Using Black Plants – Seven Daring Pairings of Darkness & Light for Your Garden

15 Beautiful Black Plants to add darkness to Your Garden

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Originally written by By KATHLEEN LALIBERTE for the spring 2016 issue of PITH + VIGOR print newspaper.
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