by Matt Gibson
If you’re looking to add a touch of sophisticated mystique to your garden this season, growing some black flowers in your beds is just what the doctor ordered. Black is a classy and mysterious color. It’s connected with power, death, fear, evil, authority, rebellion, formality, and elegance. Black is associated with grief and mourning in American culture, and because it is the lack of color, it can also represent emptiness, darkness, and the unknown. In media, the color black is usually the hallmark of the villain, or enemy character, whereas a hero traditionally appears in white. (You can find our white flower list here.) Wearing black gives one a sense of confidence, professionalism, and authority, and black flowers can bring that same type of swagger to your garden.
Though the color black can often evoke negative connotations, using just the right amount of black in your garden can tie everything together perfectly. Black may seem like a creepy choice to some gardeners, but black flowers may be the best pick there is when it comes tohighlighting the other vibrant color choices in your garden beds. Let’s be very clear here. We realize that most gardeners aren’t going to select nothing but black flowers for their yards. However, if you are using a single bright color, such as red, orange, pink, or yellow, as the dominant color of flowers in your garden, sprinkling in a few black flowers here and there for contrast is a great way to highlight the brighter shades that you chose. Imagine your garden packed with different shades of red and highlighted with sprinkles of black here and there. Now that is a luscious look.
The following list describes the best of the best black flower options to use in your garden. You’ll also find growing tips, soil and sunlight preferences, and the growing zones that each flower can thrive in. We’ve chosen to feature the most unique, distinct, and eye-catching flowers that we can find, avoiding blooms that are commonly used or overused in modern gardens. We also make it a point to lean toward hardier choices, as plants that require a lot of fussy care are liable to be too much work for too little reward for many gardeners. Plus, a handful of dead or struggling flowers tainting a glorious garden getaway is an eyesore that takes away from an otherwise perfect picture. The following black flowers made this list for good reasons. Pick your favorites, and add the lowlights that will make your garden sing.
Black Magic Hollyhock
Tall stakes are a necessity when you’re growing this towering black flower. These pitch-black, bowl-shaped blooms will loom over your garden from atop their leafy stalks that can grow as high as 10 feet tall. The Black Magic Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) is perfect for planting close to a wall or at the back edge of a border, where these statuesque specimens can stand tall and proud without blocking smaller blossoms from view. The petals of the lanky hollyhock are as dark as you can find, but instead of a true black, they’re actually a deep blue-black shade that can carry purple or reddish undertones if you look closely. Cut these skyscrapers down to the ground in the late fall after the final blooms seed.
Black Magic Hollyhocks are at home in zones 3-9 and prefer full sun and well-drained soil.
Black Velvet Petunia
Developed by horticulturists in 2010, this showy new kid on the block is a hybrid of the purple petunia and to the untrained eye, it’s as black as black can get. Upon closer inspection, one can see that there is a hint of purple in the hue of the blossoms. The petals look and feel like velvet, and the fast-growing plants can quickly take over a garden bed if they’re not contained. As long as you protect them from frosts, these hardy groundcover sprawlers will add a dark beauty to any open garden space. The Black Velvet petunia (Petunia hybrida) performs best when provided with a bit of protection from surrounding plants, and it can suffer from overwatering or harsh winds.
Petunias enjoy full sunlight and well-drained soil. They do well in zones 9-11.
Before the Storm Iris
Thanks to botanists and their endless hybrid creations, the bearded iris flower comes in every color imaginable. The Before the Storm tall bearded ris variety, however, is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring irises ever to bloom. This deep purple-black beauty has an inviting scent that attracts birds, bees, and butterflies to your garden to help with pollination. Blooming from late spring to early summer, Before the Storm irises are drought resistant and easy to grow.
Irises prefer zones 3-9 and enjoy full sunlight and well-drained soil.
Molly Sanderson Viola
The Molly Sanderson viola is a great choice for planting in containers and garden beds. Also known as pansies, viola flowers are quite hardy, as long as you make sure the plants get plenty of water. Drought is the main enemy of the viola, but if you keep their soil moist, you can expect lots of blooms and long blooming seasons from these black belles in both the spring and fall months. Because of their light-colored centers, Molly Sandersons pair well against yellow or light blue flowers and are the perfect choice for borders or ground covers.
Violas love full sunlight and moist, well-drained soil. Plant violas in zones 4-8.
Black Bat Flower
Because it only flourishes in one growing zone, the black bat flower (Tacca chantieri) almost failed to make our final list. However, the strange and striking appeal of this orchid’s bloom was just too unique to dismiss. Also known as devil flower and cat’s whiskers, the black bat flower’s appearance is one of a kind. Getting its nickname because of the blossom’s resemblance of a bat in flight, the black bat flower is one unique fellow. Unfortunately, the black bat flower requires warm subtropical to tropical climates in order to grow in a garden. However, if you have an indoor garden or you’re lucky enough to live in the right climate area, the black bat flower could end up being the star of your garden’s show.
The black bat flower grows only in zone 11, and it enjoys partial shade and well-drained soil.
Onyx Odyssey Hellebore
The Onyx Odyssey hellebore is a deep burgundy that appears almost black to the naked eye. This early blooming springtime perennial has nearly black leather-like leaves that frame tiny yellow petals, which look like stamens protruding from the center of the bloom. Boasting an elongated blooming period of six to eight weeks, the Onyx Odyssey hellebore is sure to be the delight of your springtime garden. Be careful not to plant hellebores too deeply or to allow them to sink, as the crown of the plant needs to lie just beneath the soil. Hellebores enjoy a healthy amount of air circulation both above and below the ground, so make sure you dig up the soil a bit to aerate it before planting, and try not to crowd these flowers too close to other plants, especially invasive ones that tend to suffocate the plants around them and encroach on their territory.
The Onyx Odyssey hellebore thrives in zones -5-9 and enjoys well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.
Arabian Night Dahlia
The Arabian Night variety of black dahlia flowers are subtle but powerful beauties. Their deep purple-red hue appears black in the shade—but this plant only really requires shade in the heat of the afternoon in especially warm climate areas. The large round blooms are formed by a thick cluster of spiky petals. Dahlias make an excellent choice for cut flowers, as they retain a healthy look for a long time after you create the arrangement if you care for them for properly and give the flowers fresh new water every day. Dahlias don’t perform well in cold weather, so wait until the ground temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit before planting.
Arabian Night dahlias prefer zones 8-10, moist, well-drained soil, and full sunlight exposure.
The black varieties of rose, tulip, and calla lilies are all fine choices for adding a little extra black to your garden as well, but the seven black flowers featured here are the ones we consider to be the showstoppers or the must-haves on the black floral menu. If you’re going to add black blossoms to your garden to highlight your more colorful flower selections, you really can’t go wrong with these seven standouts. Whether you’re landscaping with all black because you’re a big Morrissey fan and you want your flower beds to “wear black on the outside because black is how you feel on the inside,” or you’re looking for a sophisticated, luscious floral look, why not pick the most unique black blooms you can find?