Orange may be the new black, but you can never go wrong with some mysterious black plants to add a spooky feel to the landscape for the Halloween season.
From foliage to petals, check out these 13 uncanny cultivars that can add a bit of dark, dramatic flair to your clients’ holiday decorations.
Horned Pansy ‘Bowles Black’ (Viola cornuta)
This velvety black pansy has a burst of bright violet and yellow in the center. Place in a container or in mass plantings. This annual has multiple bloom times, including early fall. Grows less than 6 inches tall.
Hillside Black Beauty Snakeroot (Cimicifuga ramosa)
Boasting of a deep smoky purple that looks almost black, this perennial has 5 feet tall spires of white flowers that give off a vanilla scent, which attracts both butterflies and people. Deer resistant. Requires moist soil. Grows 3 feet tall.
Black Pearl Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
This low-maintenance ornamental pepper has rich black foliage and glossy dark peppers that ripen to bright red orbs. The foliage starts out green, but quickly turns black in full sun. The pearl-like fruit is edible but extremely hot. Can be used in containers or mass plantings. Grows 1 to 1.5 feet tall.
Weigela Midnight Wine (Weigela florida)
Minimal pruning is needed for this mound of purple-burgundy leaves. This shrub is a favorite of hummingbirds and is very adaptable once established. Reaches best dark color when in full sun. Use to add some drama in borders, containers and mass plantings. Grows 8 to 12 inches tall.
Redbor Kale (Brassica oleracea)
Another oddly colored edible, this kale grows best in the cool temperatures of fall. Its lush eggplant shade of leaves looks similar to billowing clouds coming out of a witch’s brew if placed in a container. It can also be placed in window boxes, borders and ornamental garden areas. Grows 1 to 1.5 feet tall.
Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’ (‘Karma Choc’ Dahlia)
Going from a satiny red to an inky black center, this dahlia blooms from July until frost. As a member of the water-lily dahlias, this plant has double blooms with sparse ray florets that attract butterflies. Great for containers and borders as it stands up straight and is not top-heavy. Grows up to 36 inches tall.
Black Magic Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’)
As if the name weren’t enough of a hint as to why this is a perfect Halloween addition, this perennial’s foliage is downright somber. It provides great contrast with brighter plants in a container. Requires moist soil. Grows 5 to 6 feet tall and wide.
Obsidian Coral Bells (Heuchera x ‘Obsidian’ P.P. #14,836)
Adding height and acting as an attention-getter, this perennial exhibits glossy black leaves that keep their color throughout the season. Forms clumps of foliage that make it an effective ground cover. Grows 8 to 10 inches tall, with flower stems 24 inches tall.
Black Hollyhock (Alcea rosea ‘nigra’)
A perennial with maroon petals that are so dark the blood-red plant often looks black. A classic, it’s known for being planted in the gardens of Thomas Jefferson. Attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds. Grows 5 to 8 feet tall.
Sweetunia Black Satin Petunia (Petunia ‘Sweetunia Black Satin’)
These luxurious silky black trumpet-shaped blooms can be used almost anywhere in the garden, from containers and hanging baskets to borders and mass plantings. Attracts pollinators of all kinds. Grows 8 to 10 inches tall.
Mahogany Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
This fast-spreading groundcover alternates between a rich plum color and black. Its texture adds extra interest. Drought and heat tolerant. Can be used as a spiller in containers as well. Grows 3 to 6 inches tall.
Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’)
Dense spiky sprays of charcoal with a purplish tint add a nice spooky feel for Halloween containers. Also has purple fall berries for extra interest. Slow-growing. Grows 5 to 6 inches tall and wide.
Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)
Saving the best for last, this peculiar plant is native to southern parts of Asia. Requires moist soil. From its strange “whiskers” to the leaves that look like bat wings, this is definitely the most eerie of our black-plant lineup. Grows 2 to 3 feet tall.