Black Flower Gardens: Information On How To Grow A Black Garden

Black Flower Gardens: Information On How To Grow A Black Garden

By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden

Many people are intrigued in the Victorian black garden. Filled with attractive black flowers, foliage, and other interesting additions, these types of gardens can actually add drama to the landscape.

How to Grow a Black Garden

Growing your own Victorian black garden is not hard at all. It’s basically done just like any other garden. Careful planning always helps beforehand. One of the most important factors is proper positioning. Dark-colored plants need to be placed in sunny areas to prevent them from becoming lost in the dark corners of the landscape. They should also be placed against a lighter backdrop in order to stand out more effectively.

Another aspect of the black garden is learning how to use the various tones and hues correctly. While black plants mix rather easily with other colors, some work better than others. The best thing to keep in mind when working with black palettes is choosing lighter shades that will contrast well with the black-colored plants you’ve chosen. This will actually help intensify their color and allow them to stand out easily. Black flowers/foliage can accentuate other colors if carefully placed. For instance, black plants work well when combined with silver, gold, or bright-colored tones.

In addition, keep in mind that when choosing black flowers for the garden, some may actually appear dark purple or red rather than pure black. Plant color is also likely to change depending on location and other factors, such as soil pH. Black plants may also require additional watering as their darker shades can make them more susceptible to withering from the hot sun.

Black Flowers for the Garden

When using black plants for the garden, consider their various textures and forms. Look for different types of plants with similar growing requirements. There are numerous black plants to choose from that will add drama to your black garden—far too many to name. However, here is a list of black or dark-colored plants to get you started:

Black Bulb Varieties

  • Tulips (Tulipa x darwin ‘Queen of the Night,’ ‘Black Parrot’)
  • Hyacinth (Hyacinthus ‘Midnight Mystique’)
  • Calla Lily (Arum palaestinum)
  • Elephant Ear (Colocasia ‘Black Magic’)
  • Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’)
  • Gladiolus (Gladiolus x hortulanus ‘Black Jack’)
  • Iris (Iris nigricans ‘Dark Vader,’ ‘Superstition’)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Black Emanuelle’)

Black Perennials and Biennials

  • Coral Bells (Heuchera x villosa ‘Mocha’)
  • Hellebore, Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger )
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’)
  • Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus nigrescens ‘Sooty’)
  • Rose varieties ‘Black Magic,’ Black Beauty,’ Black Baccara’
  • Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris var stellata ‘Black Barlow’)
  • Delphinium (Delphinium x cultorium ‘Black Night’)
  • Andean Silver-Leaf Sage (Salvia discolor)
  • Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana ‘Bowles’ Black’)

Black Annuals

  • Hollyhock (Alcea rosea ‘Nigra’)
  • Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
  • Sunflower (Helianthus annuus ‘Moulin Rouge’)
  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus ‘Black Prince’)

Black Foliage Plants

  • Pussy Willow (Salix melanostachys)
  • Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’)
  • Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’)

Black Vegetables

  • Eggplant
  • Bell Pepper ‘Purple Beauty’
  • Tomato ‘Black Prince’
  • Corn “Black Aztec’
  • Ornamental Pepper ‘Black Pearl’

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Growing & Caring for Trillium Flowers

Lovable common names such as wake-robin, whippoorwill flower, toadshade and sweet Betsy reflect the special place trilliums hold in the hearts of nature lovers. A member of the lily family, trilliums have plant parts in threes (hence, the genus name) and bloom scents like fruit or rotting meat to attract such pollinating insects as gnats.


Great white trillium is one of the showiest and best-known species. White petals fade to pink or nearly red as flowers age, though some forms open pink. Its range extends from the Northeast to the Midwest and as far south as Georgia.


One of the most distinctive and beautiful species, twisted trillium has spiraled, dark maroon-purple petals and horizontal sepals surrounding a clutch of purple stamens. Blooms late March to mid-May. Its narrow range in the wild extends from central Tennessee to the upper Coastal Plain of Alabama and Mississippi, often on limestone outcroppings.


Yellow trillium, with its lance-shaped, greenish to light yellow petals and large mottled leaves, is one of the most familiar species. Though many trilliums have yellow forms, which can lead to some confusion, T. luteum has a distinctive lemon scent. It produces one to two stems per plant, becoming quite impressive over time. Occurs naturally from North Carolina and North Georgia to East Tennessee and Kentucky in limestone soils. Blooms April to May.


Named for the sulcate (boat-shaped) tips of the petals and sepals, the southern red trillium or rainbow wake-robin occurs from West Virginia to Alabama. Typically dark red-maroon flowers can also be pink, white or yellow, with white or black eyes. Leaves are 8 inches across. Blooms April and May.


A creamy-white flower with a purple-black pistil makes sweet white trillium one of the showiest. Added bonuses are a green-apple scent and broad, solid green leaves. Adaptable, though its distribution is small, around the Great Smoky Mountains. Blooms April and May.


Bent trillium ranges from the Great Lakes to Tennessee and Pennsylvania, typically in limestone soils. Thick-petaled white flowers perch at a right angle on 5-inch stalks, with an old-rose fragrance. Peduncles can be straight, inclined or declined beneath the leaves. Blooms April to early June, depending on locale.


A wide distribution has led to many quaint common names—purple toadshade, whippoorwill flower, sweet Betsy and bloody butcher. It can be seen carpeting the forest floor in woods from Kentucky and Tennessee to the Carolinas and Mississippi. The wide variety of leaf mottling (silvery green to dark purple green), size (6 to 20 inches) and flower color (bronze, red, yellow, green or bicolored) can make this a confusing species to identify. Prefers limestone soils but is adaptable and even somewhat sun-tolerant. Blooms from early March to mid-April.


Lanceleaf trillium has narrow leaves and linear, often twisted petals. Flowers can be maroon, purple, greenish-tan or bicolored. Not abundant anywhere in its natural range pockets occur from Tennessee to Florida. Most often found in alluvial soils. Though easy to grow, it’s rarely available. Mottled leaves have a silver blaze down the center. Blooms February to March or April to May, depending on region.


The prairie trillium has strongly reflexed sepals tucked between the leaf petioles. Has a wide range, concentrated where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet. Leaves heavily mottled. Flowers can be maroon, yellow or bicolored, blooming in mid-March to mid-May.


Louisiana trillium is almost completely limited to that state (ludoviciana means Louisiana). Petals can be all purple but most often are grayish-silver-green at the tips. Richly marbled leaves are often showier than the flowers. Blooms March to April.


The natural range of pale yellow trillium is the upper drainage of the Savannah River. Creamy-yellow flowers can have a spicy scent like sweetshrub (calycanthus). Blooms mid-April to early May.

Cultivation of the Black orchid

Masdevallia rolfeana needs some care very similar to those of your group , but if you have this orchid at home, you’ll want to know what your preferences are and how you can get the black orchid to bloom again.
I am going to give you some advice, so that your Masdevallia orchid develops as well as possible and flourishes year after year:


The light you receive should not be direct , it should be filtered or better, be near a window where it does not receive direct sunlight: north or northwest orientation.
If we can not provide a window with these conditions, it is better to put it more inside the room, where it has good lighting, but without direct sunlight.


Although according to what I have been able to read and investigate, the Masdevallia rolfeana orchid withstood temperatures somewhat higher than those of its group , I prefer not to take risks offering incorrect data.
In this sense we have to handle the temperatures of the group, which are:
During the day between 18ºC and 24ºC
Temperature during the night, between 13ºC and 16ºC
If you live in a very warm climate, try to keep the Masdevallia orchids in a cool place during the months of greater heat.

Watering and humidity

We must understand that the Masdevallia are not like other orchids, they lack pseudobulbs and, therefore, do not have water reserves.
The waterings should be similar to what you would offer to any indoor plant, always observing the substrate.
Thus, a good irrigation pattern could be two or three times a week during the summer, to leave the irrigation once a week during the winter.
Look closely at your orchids to detect any problem with irrigation in time.
As for the humidity, they are orchids that despite needing partial shade and a rather cool temperature, they also need high humidity, in the environment of 60% to 80%.
We can provide it in different ways, but the simplest is to place a plate with water under the pot, putting some balls of clay or pebbles, so that the roots are not in direct contact with the water.


During the growing-blooming season, spring to summer, it is advisable to fertilize weekly, taking care to do so with the already wet substrate.
There are different types of fertilizers for orchids. At this time of the year it is advisable to use one designed to encourage flowering, which has a greater contribution of phosphorus and potassium.
During the rest of the year with fertilizing once a month, it will be enough to have healthy orchids.

Substrate and change of pot

Masdevallia rolfeana orchids have very fine roots, so the substrate for orchids that we use must be fine-grained.
It has to have the usual characteristics of inert substrates for orchids, for example: fir bark, pearlite or fern fiber.
Pot changes should be made every year, or every two years. Always with the precaution of not choosing an excessively large pot, it is better that the roots have space necessary, but not too much.

When does the Masdevallia rolfeana orchid bloom?

The Masdevallia rolfeana orchid blooms from spring to summer.
From each stem, there appear two to three tubular pods containing 1 to 3 flowers, which are opened successively.
The flowers measure about 7 centimeters and are of a dark garnet color, almost black.


When to plant:

Although black-eyed Susans can often be purchased as bedding plants in the spring, they are very easy to grow from seed and you’ll have a much broader selection of cultivars to choose from. You can start the seeds indoors in early spring about 10 weeks before your climate’s last frost date or sow them directly in the garden in spring or summer. Perennial varieties can be sown from seed or transplanted in fall or early spring. For the best seed germination, plant when the soil temperature has warmed to about 70° F.

Where to plant:

Rudbeckia will thrive in just about any sunny location that has well-drained soil. They will tolerate drought better than they will soggy ground. If you live in a hot, humid climate, choose a spot in the garden where your plants will receive ample air circulation to avoid the development of powdery mildew.

Sowing directly in the garden:

Scatter seeds then gently press them into the soil or cover with a very light layer of soil. Water regularly to keep the seedbed moist. As seedlings grow, thin to 6 to 12 inches apart for dwarf varieties and annuals and 18 to 30 inches apart for perennials, depending on the mature size of the plant. Water thoroughly to keep the soil moist until your plants become established. Once they are well-rooted, they will be able to tolerate dry conditions.

Sowing seed indoors:

Sow seed indoors following the seed packet’s directions for planting depth, growing medium, and watering requirements. As soon as the seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light by placing them on a sunny windowsill or beneath fluorescent plant lights (see Starting Seeds Under Fluorescent Lights). Before planting your seedlings outdoors, be sure to accustom them to outdoor conditions by keeping them in a cold frame or another sheltered spot for a week.

1. Tulip ‘Queen of Night’

Beautiful and dramatic, this tremendous closest to black flower appears in deep maroon color in spring. This variety can be mixed with white or pink tulips or other bright colored flower to create an astonishing view.

Good thing is that it is a low maintenance plant and usually easy to grow, that makes it a good plant for beginners. This fairly cold hardy plant blooms in mid or late spring under USDA Zones 3 to 8.

2. Petunia, Sophistica Blackberry Hybrid

Newly engendered varieties like ‘Black Velvet Petunia’ or ‘Black Cat Petunia’ look almost black but it may be hard and expensive to find their seeds. However, beautiful petunia, ‘Sophistica blackberry’ is an easier option. The dark flowers of this annual are actually deep reddish or burgundy in color and can be grown in window boxes, pots, beds and borders.

3. Helleborus ‘Onyx Odyssey’

The dark burgundy or nearly black hellebores are highly appreciated for their color. This lovely perennial can easily be grown in containers in part to full sun. Provide good air circulation around the plant and keep the soil well moist. Grows best in USDA zones 5-9 hellebores are early bloomers and flower in spring.

4. Viola ‘Molly Sanderson’

Violas ‘Molly Sanderson’ are another excellent option to enjoy flowers in black color, can be grown in both on the ground or in containers, flowers appear from spring to fall. They are very good around pale yellow primroses or multicolor pansies.

5. Iris ‘Before the Storm’

Irises are widely used in gardens and are available in almost every color imaginable, including chocolate and this new variety ‘Before the Storm’ of black color. This slightly fragrant iris requires a sunny position and well-drained soil in order to grow.

6. Physocarpus Opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ syn. ‘Monlo’

A versatile and appealing shrub with white flowers and deep burgundy foliage that looks black in shade or in dark. It is easy to grow and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, it grows best in USDA Zones 2-7 and must be planted in an area of partial shade in warmer zones due to the reason that in higher heat the foliage can become green.

7. Black Baccara Rose

This dramatic tea rose due to its bold color and upright habit looks stunning, it is one of the best black flowers. Its almost black color and fragrant blooms make an amazing display in the garden. The leathery green foliage are reddish when young. The flowers appear blacker in cool weather.

8. Hollyhock ‘Nigra’

Hollyhocks are beautiful, they look exceptional when flowers appear on their tall strong stems. But, particularly, this unique variety hollyhock, Alcea rosea ‘Nigra’ bears breathtaking chocolate maroon flowers that look almost black towards the center. Hollyhocks are old traditional plants, easy to grow and grow in a variety of climates easily (both in cool and warm climates in USDA Zones 3-10a).

Hollyhocks are old traditional plants, easy to grow and grow in a variety of climates easily (both in cool and warm climates in USDA Zones 3-10a).

9. Wine and Roses (Weigela florida)

This variety of Weigela is sold as ‘Wine and Roses’ or ‘Alexandra’, it offers a surprising combination of flowers in pink tones immersed in a deep burgundy foliage, looks black like. Suitable for cold climates, it likes full sun but tolerates some light shade too, this small shrub can also be grown in containers easy to grow and bloom profusely in spring or early summer and continue to bloom throughout the summer season.

10. Black Beauty ‘Elderberry’

Another excellent choice within our list of black flowers and plants is Sambucus nigra ‘Gerda’, valued for its purple-black foliage, pink flowers, and juicy edible fruits. Elderberry can be used to add foliage interest in the garden but it looks especially wonderful when its flowers appear in summer. These flowers cover the plant and emit a light lemon like fragrance, then, the dark purple berries appear.

11. Calla Lily ‘Black Star’

One of the most decorative flowers the ‘Black Star’ bloom is deep purple with a spathe that is almost black, it looks attractive in combination with light green foliage spotted with red tips. It can be planted in containers, in the garden border.

12. Black Mondo Grass

A wonderful alternative for warm climates in rock gardens, borders or in a pot. The ‘black mondo grass’ grows about 12 inches tall and can extend up to 6-12 inches wide. In spring, the new dark green foliage emerges and then in summer it changes into a very deep purple-black. Also by mid-summer tiny bell-shaped white flowers appear, followed by small black seeds.

13. Aeonium Arboreum

This subtropical subshrub is an impressive and dramatic plant. This tall succulent has rosettes of dark reddish brown or burgundy leaves and yellow flowers that appear from summer through fall. The plant is more suitable to warm climates and should be protected in winters in cold climates.

14. Canna- Black Tropicanna

Bring a tropical touch with this plant to your garden. With its bright flowers and dark bronze to chocolate color large foliage, it can bring a great impact to your garden. More suitable for warmer zones, it must be planted in an area that receives at least six hours of daily sun.

15. Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’

Dahlias become most beautiful cut flowers. This cultivar dahlia ‘Arabian night’ has deep purple-red flowers. The flowers look black like in shade. Growing dahlia requires full sun, however, shade in the afternoon in warm climates is preferable.

16. Colocasia ‘Black Magic’

Colocasia ‘black magic’ is an astonishing plant that can be identified from its dramatic large and dark purple-black dusty leaves. This ‘Elephant Ear’ requires warmth and heat to thrive as it is a tropical plant and grows best in warm temperates and subtropical to tropical climates (USDA Zones 8-11). But even living in colder areas, you can enjoy this as an annual. It is a great idea to use it as a focal point by surrounding bright and colorful plants around it.

17. Coleus ‘Black Prince’

The coleus is one of the most widespread species and most popular when it comes to choosing striking foliage plants for the garden. The coleus ‘Black Prince’ can be grown for its unusual solid black foliage and small flowers, either as a perennial in warm subtropical or tropical regions or as an annual in temperates. It is a perfect plant for borders and can be used in combinations with other plants in containers.

18. Silver-Laced Primrose (Primula ‘Victoriana Lace Silver Black’)

Beautiful! This gorgeous flower is one of the rarest and difficult to obtain Primulas. It produces flowers of black-brown color with a scalloped silver edges and a golden center. Blooms are fragrant and appear in spring. This plant can be grown in cool and warm temperate regions (USDA Zones 5-9), it prefers partial shade and moist soil.

19. Heuchera ‘Obsidian’

Also called ‘Obsidian Coral Bells’ it is one of the most beautiful black color plants in our list that you can grow in borders, in flower beds or in containers to add an all season foliage interest to your garden. Its tiny flowers are also attractive, this plant requires cool weather and partial shade to thrive.

20. Bat Flower

Tacca bat flower (Tacca chantieri) is really a unique, rare and exotic flower that mimics a bat in flight. The plant requires warm subtropical or tropical weather in order to grow outside, in a cold climate you can grow it outside.

Purple Coneflowers: Plant Requirements

Purple coneflowers are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 10, reports the University of Florida. They can be planted in partial shade. Purple coneflowers cannot tolerate salty soil. They thrive in well-drained soils that are acidic, slightly alkaline, loam or clay. By not planting the flowers too close together, you can avoid most disease and insect infestation. Purple coneflowers are deer resistant, but they are attractive to rabbits. This can be managed by organic or chemical means.

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