15 Beautiful Black Plants For Your Garden

Beautiful Black Plant Inspiration 1. Frosted Purple Barberry, 2. Sambucas nigra - Black Lace, 3. IMG_5129, 4. Oxalis, 5. Black-Hollyhocks, 6. Bees will notice, 7. Helleborus16, 8. Cordyline australis 'red sensation', 9. Oxalis triangularis, 10. 27Paph.(Hsinying Web×Macabre) 'Jamboree Black', 11. Dark Sweet Potato, 12. Black Daylily, 13. Tulip, 14. Dahlia, 15. Black calyces
1. Frosted Purple Barberry, 2. Sambucas nigra – Black Lace, 3. IMG_5129, 4. Oxalis, 5. Black-Hollyhocks, 6. Bees will notice, 7. Helleborus16, 8. Cordyline australis ‘red sensation’, 9. Oxalis triangularis, 10. 27Paph.(Hsinying Web×Macabre) ‘Jamboree Black’, 11. Dark Sweet Potato, 12. Black Daylily, 13. Tulip, 14. Dahlia, 15. Black calyces

Black plants are fascinating to me.  The color of death and dying is the antithesis of the green life of the garden.  The black-ness of an eggplant (aubergine for you Brits) never seizes to amaze me, I truly could marvel at its blackness and lose minutes in the garden.  I have always been fascinated with black plants – I even used them extensively in a show garden I designed for Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2002.   (I know you have asked for pictures… I promise to someday show you…but they are on a defunct computer …and quite a project to retrieve).

Anyway,  there are so many varieties and if you are interested in these dark beauties, there are some great places for inspiration.   Flickr has a group for black plants that is populated with about 300 pictures; all the images above are from there.  Additionally there is a new book, Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden by Paul Bonine.  It is a small volume, but full of beautiful photography of these lovely specimens.  A great choice for inspiration or even a cocktail book….to fascinate even the non horticulturally minded among us.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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7 Comments

  1. Nell Jean on November 5, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Black plants are fashionable, aren’t they? I blogged about my own black plants last week. judywhite’s husband will be writing soon about another author of a book about black plants, I forget her name.

  2. Dave Phelps on November 6, 2009 at 2:21 am

    I like the Sambucus ‘black lace’ the best. What a cool plant! I love putting these “black” plants right next to chartreuse and blue plants to really make the colors striking. Thanks for the pics, Susan!

  3. felicity waters on November 6, 2009 at 5:51 am

    love it – will come back when i am in need of some black plants for my vertical gardens

  4. dana on November 6, 2009 at 8:04 am

    The color of death…. lovely …I’m DarkLady,,,
    ciao dana

  5. Gwen Aldrich on November 9, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Makes my mouth water for some reason. I’m wondering if there is a cultivar name for the black looking purple barberry, or if it is a random barberry that looks black. There must be hundreds of barberrys.

  6. louise garwood on November 11, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Stunning mosaic of mysterious looking plants, Rochelle.
    I particularly like the ephemeral foliage of the species of peony that is dark black/ purply-red as it breaks thru in the spring. Looks great with all the pastels and chartreuse. (P. mlokosewitchii, I think it is)
    http://www.hillkeep.ca/images/Paeonia_mlokosewitschii_hybrid_red_IMGP0468x.jpg
    Then the foliage greens up and flowers are single pale pink.

    Re: plants and winter: some of your readers may be interested in therapeutic garden/herbal gardens- this blog is interesting and inspiring for you..
    http://crabappleherbs.com/blog/2007/01/30/winter-flu-care-pink-ginger-tea/
    enjoy!

  7. nicholas yoho-wikse on July 13, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    i am not sure black is the color of ‘death & dying’… but very nice site & pics

    thanx

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