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

Using Black plants - seven pairings of lightness and dark for your garden

Kathleen LaLiberte shared some exciting ways to use black plants in your garden in the Spring Issue of PITH + VIGOR.  Playing off the idea of heightening the darkness by associating it with something else that is light and bright, these seven pairings will get you started when trying to create some show stopping moments in your own garden.

4 5 This+That_Spring2016 coleus


Coleus ‘Midnight Rambler’ or ‘Black Prince’ with Coleus ‘Lime Time’ or ‘Fishnet Stockings.’


Aquilegia ‘Black Barlow’ (columbine) is beautiful with Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle).4 5 This+That_Spring20161


Buddleia davidii ‘Black Knight’(butterfly bush) and Cotinus coggygria ‘Golden Spirit’ makes a strong statement.

4 5 This+That_Spring20163


 Sempervivum ‘Spherette’, would look good with any lime-colored succulent, such as Sempervivum ‘Little Bobo.’

karl gercens lysimachia and ajuga via


In a container or along the edge of a bed, Ophiopogon ‘Nigrescens’ (black mondo grass) or a variety of black Ajuga is striking with Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea.’


In the spring, Tulipa ‘Violet Beauty’ works well with Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’ or Berberis ‘Concorde’ (a barberry that does not produce seed).





 Begonia rex ‘Fire-works’ is an indoor or porch plant that is very pretty with a bright pink cyclamen or a bright pink tuberous begonia like Roseform Pink Begonia.

All images courtesy of Longfield Gardens except for image #5 by Karl Gercens. 

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About 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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