Gothic garden planning: 5 black blooms worth braving the sun for

February 6 |
Black Parrot Tulip
Photo by Lynn_El. Used with permission.
As I dove into garden-planning season, I came across this breathtaking flower: the Black Parrot tulip.

Now, I know it's too late to plant tulips, but that doesn't stop me from fantasizing about these. They look dangerous and deadly and I looove them. They fill my mind with ideas, which is the storied power of a good garden.

Happily, the Black Parrot led me down a rabbit hole of other dark plants — the kind of vegetation that might convince even the palest of goths to slather on sunscreen and get into the garden.

Y'all ready for this?

Black hollyhock © by greengardenvienna, used under Creative Commons license.

Black hollyhocks! Oh! I have these in MY garden! Easy to grow, and once propagated need only a little attention — they're quite tall and often need staking.

Black Viola © by Just chaos, used under Creative Commons license.

Black violas are an easy-to-grow, small, beautiful, EDIBLE (!!!) flower, perfect for garnishing your black-hearted summer salads

Nemophila - snowstorm © by MShades, used under Creative Commons license.

The black Nemophila is a U.S.-native wildflower, beautifully black and white.

Not all of the above blooms would make it in a warmer climate (I'm a USDA Zone 5), so for those of you more interested in succulents, I have saved one of my favorite finds:

Black Succulent © by mikecogh, used under Creative Commons license.

The black rose tree. It looks like a sculptural interpretation of alien plants, and I LOVE it.

In the coming weeks you can also look forward to posts on carnivorous plants, night-bloomers, and more ideas for your offbeat garden.

  1. Awesome!

    And perfect timing.
    We moved into our new house this weekend and as I was looking out of the window at our new garden I had a conversation with my husband about how I only wanted to plant black, red or white flowers in my new goth garden!

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  2. Several varieties of black petunia came out last year, some with some white in them. Like most "black" flowers, vaguely purple, but still goth-y!

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  3. YAY!!!! Ripping out our front lawn this summer and doing a full out perennial/annual garden. I don't know how many of these will survive in cold ass Saskatchewan (Zone 2 – Zone 3), But I'm really hoping!!!

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  4. SO IN LOVE.

    Actually, this post just reminded me that I bought "black tulips" from my godson during one of his school's fundraisers, and I never got them. HMMM

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  5. Fun Fact: Black Suculent smell vaguely like chocolate.

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  6. For those in warmer climates there is also the Tacca Chantrieri aka The Black Bat Flower…

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  7. Hooray for upcoming carnivorous plant postings – these are my favorite plants to grow and I LOVE them. Can't wait to read more.

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  8. Oh, aeoniums are so cool. They also come in a pink-tipped variety I love.

    My favorite goth flower of all time is the Queen of the Night tulip though.

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  9. Oooo I hope the Goth brides find their way over here from OBB. I bet having plants like these for their weddings would make their hearts sing.

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  10. Bearded irises come in black, too! I'm kind of a sucker for irises anyway, but the black ones always look super velvety-rich, and some smell like grape kool-aid. (Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your childhood.)

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  11. I really want to grow some Snake's Head Fritillary in my garden, but I'm in the wrong climate. I do have Papa Meilland, Black Boy and Black Beauty roses, and they are just gorgeous.

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  12. The idea of it being "too late" to be planting tulips and other bulb plants is simply because the bulbs need to be cold and then "woken up" by spring coming. You can stick the bulbs in the freezer for a couple weeks (I've has success doing it only for a couple DAYS!) and then planting them when it's about time for them to "wake up."

    Source: My great grandma. She tended to do this if we have winters like this one where nothing ever froze for very long, because she said that if the bulbs don't sleep deeply enough then they just don't wake up. She explained it as if you sleep deeply enough, you need fewer hours of sleep than if you slept less deeply but longer to get the same restfulness. Of course, if you let them sleep too deeply for too long, well, it's like how the longer you're in a coma the harder it is to wake you up. We had a pretty good success rate with planting bulbs in totally unacceptable time-frames and getting results, so it's worth a shot at any rate.

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  13. Fun fact! In the Victorian period, hollyhocks were frequently planted to disguise a home's outhouse. So then when a guest wanted to use the outhouse, they would ask where the hollyhocks were, so they wouldn't have to directly reference something that was used for a bodily function.

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  14. Very cool article! I've long been a fan of 'black' flowers… and green flowers too. :^) Thank you for the photo credit. I'm glad you liked it.

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  15. Thank you so much for this!

    I've been wanting to do a red and black theme in our flower beds, but so far only have the red roses. I'm anything BUT a gardening expert, so i had no idea where to look for black blossoms.

    These suggestions would be FABULOUS!

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    • Oh man. It'll be so very Queen of Hearts!

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  16. Keep in mind soil acidity will affect the color. In Idaho we cannot grow black plants- they never fail to grow a very obvious purple. My grandmother grew black tulips for years, always hoping it would change some spring.

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    • Did not know this! I'd heard about it affecting hydrangeas, but that's all I knew about. Thanks!

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  17. Black iris is amazing looking flower! It has great dark purple undertones and makes me feel like i am in an old victorian garden….
    There is also superbell blackberry plant where black meet purple…. Darling and bushy and oh so pretty….
    The black petunias I like, they work great in planters and all you have to do is pinch the dead blossoms and you get blooming whole season.
    And fritilaria persica (i bet i wrote that wrong, sorry) is like little dwarf and some fairies live there….
    Oh my, will have to get some more plants now :-)

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  18. T_T I live in like zone 9 on the gulf coast… hard to find something elegant and melancholy pretty without it being pink and super tropical 80's feel. I can grow a magnolia,wisteria, and willows…I guess looking like a plantation house in Gone with the Wind is better than nothing..

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  19. I was just thinking of emailing you guys to ask about this exact topic, and lo and behold!

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