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Grow Black Flowers, Foliage for Contrast, Novelty
The terminology "black flowers" is used loosely to refer to the darkest blooms available to growers. Similarly, there are plants with dark foliage termed "black," such as black shamrocks.
If you look closely, you'll usually see that so-called "black flowers" are such a deep purple that they just appear black. I show pictures of such specimens, as well as an example of a plant with dark foliage, in this photo gallery.
Petun...ias come in many colors....
The one shown in this picture is about as truly "black" as a flower can be, naturally. Petunias are annuals, popular in container gardens and as bedding plants. The one thing I don't like about them is that they look like drowned rats after a rain, necessitating deadheading for aesthetic reasons.
Color choices for petunias include white, red, and various shades of pink and purple, such as the ones you'll see in the following photos:
Petunia flowers can also be bicolor, as in the commonly found red-and-white striped petunias.Continue to 2 of 19 below.
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As the picture shows, these "black" tulips are really just a deep purple color....
Depending on the lighting present when you view these tulips, they can appear either purple or black.Continue to 3 of 19 below.
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Picture of "Black" Iris
The lower part of this "black" iris appears especially black....
As you can see from the upper part of the flower, this iris is actually deep purple in color, as was the "black" tulip in the prior picture. Besides their striking good looks (in various colors), some iris flowers are aromatic.Continue to 4 of 19 below.
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Photo of Black Hollyhocks
Picture of "black" hollyhocks....
Black hollyhocks (Alcea rosea 'nigra') have blossoms of such a deep purple color that they are regarded as "black."Continue to 6 of 19 below.
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Picture of Black Elephant Ears
The large "elephant ears" of Colocasia's foliage offer a tropical look....
But some varieties of elephant ears provide unusual foliage color, to boot -- practically black!Continue to 8 of 19 below.
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"Black" lily picture....
'Jungle Beauty' comes close to being a truly black lily.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
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Dark Foliage: Ninebark
Some ninebark shrubs have coppery leaves, others have golden foliage....
But 'Diabolo' ninebark shrubs (the cultivar name is sometimes spelled 'Diablo') bear a strikingly dark foliage.Continue to 10 of 19 below.
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Heuchera Plant With Dark Foliage
Heuchera plant's common name is "coral bells" (referring to the flowers), ....
But I find the dark varieties most valuable as foliage plants, not as flowering plants. As you can see from this picture, the new leaves start out a deep red, but they become more of a purplish-black with age. For a full article on Heuchera see my piece on Heuchera 'Blondie'.Continue to 11 of 19 below.
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Picture of "Black" Castor Bean Leaf
The picture below shows how nicely "black" castor bean leaves contrast with brightly colored flowers....
Although not truly black, such dark-colored foliage is highly sought after for its novelty. Because castor bean produces seeds that are poisonous, castor bean plants should not be grown in yards where children play.
According to Karen Platt in Black Magic and Purple Passion (page 193), the following varieties of castor bean plants exhibit dark foliage:
- Ricinus communis 'Carmencita...9;
- Ricinus communis 'Gibsonii'
- Ricinus communis 'Impala'
- Ricinus communis 'Red Spire'
For more, see how castor bean plants can be used in organic pest control.Continue to 12 of 19 below.
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Picture of a "Black" Pansy
Like the iris flower pictured earlier, this "black" pansy is really just a very deep purple....
I have, however, seen pansies of an even deeper color than the pansy in the photo above.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
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Picture of a "Black" Rose
This picture of a "black" rose shows that dark types do exist. But real flowers do not exist in that color, in the truest sense....
A way to interpret the meaning of rose colors has been used down through the ages, allowing you to send the correct rose for any given occasion. So-called "black" roses are a somewhat dubious addition to the list.
But are black roses real or imaginary? If real, does that color come naturally? And what of their significance in the language of flowers?
Not... everybody agrees on what they stand for. That fact should not surprise us, since the black rose is a creation, not a natural phenomenon (as I explain below). But "death" is, by far, the most common interpretation. For more detail, see What Black Roses Mean.
Plant developers have been trying to develop a black rose for a long time. No jet-black rose really exists at this time, but there are some so deep in color as to suggest black. The one shown in the picture above, namely, Rosa 'Almost Black,' is an example. To counteract nature's reluctance in this regard, florists resort to artifice: they simply dry the fresh blooms and spray or dye them black.Continue to 14 of 19 below.
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Purple Morning Glory: Almost Black Flowers
Like the iris pictured earlier in my photo gallery, this morning glory flower is such a deep purple....
It's almost black!Continue to 15 of 19 below.
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Dark Coleus Photo
I show examples of a number of types of plants with dark foliage in this photo gallery....
But what about bedding plants? Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) is popular in the North, where it is treated as if it were an annual. In strict botanical terms, though, it is an herbaceous perennial of the tropics, native to southeastern Asia. It is too tender to survive winters outside of planting zones 10-11.
It is best to plant coleus in a rich, friable soil, generally in shade. Keep the soil evenly... moist. Some people like to pinch out the centers of the plants to keep them more compact.
Coleus is grown in flower beds to inject blasts of color. Valued for its leaves rather than its flowers, coleus comes in all sorts of colors and color combinations. Some coleus plants display dark foliage, as in the picture above. True to their heritage (Lamiaceae or "mint" family; see yellow archangel as another example), they sport square stems.Continue to 16 of 19 below.
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Dark Foliage of AjugaContinue to 17 of 19 below.
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Edens Magic Giant Bergenia Photo
Pig squeak (Bergenia cordifolia) is known as a large-leafed perennial....
'Edens Magic Giant' Bergenia adds dark color to those impressive leaves. Division in spring will help you to propagate this plant and turn it into an impressive ground cover. The colorful common name derives from the squeak emitted when one rubs the leaf between one's thumb and forefinger. The plant can be grown in dry shade.Continue to 18 of 19 below.
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Picture of Sand Cherry
The leaves of the cherry tree in the picture below start out reddish-purple, giving the plant the name "purple leaf sand cherry"....
Its new reddish-purple leaves afford a nice backdrop for this plant's brightly colored spring flowers. As the leaves of purple leaf sand cherry age, they may green up a bit, but the color is dark green to dull purple -- still plenty dark enough to set sand cherry trees apart from most other plants.Continue to 19 of 19 below.
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