Black plants and foliage - drama in your garden

Whether it’s splashes of inky tulips or swathes of purple foliage, dark hues add depth and drama to the garden borders. 

There is a wealth of dusky beauties to explore.  For the winter months, dark hellebores such as H. ‘Harvington Black’ exude drama and glamor, looking fab with paler hellebores and snowdrops.  There are also some gorgeous deep purple viola such as V. ‘Sorbet Black Delight’ for striking winter colour.  Thinking ahead to spring, it’s not too late to plant tulips, and varieties such as T. ‘Queen of the Night’ , T. ‘Black Parrot’ and T. ‘Black hero’ have stunning velvety petals that look wonderful paired with white tulips such as  T. ‘White Triumphator ‘or pink T. Negrita Double.’

There are many iris varieties in bruised hues to consider for early summer such as I. ‘Black Dragon’ or I. ‘Black Knight’. Flowers for later in the summer include Scabious ‘Black Knight’ and there’s a good choice of dahlias in moody tones such as ‘Black Touch,’ and ‘Chat Noir.’ Clematis ‘Romantika’ is a beautiful dark purple clematis. 

Actea ‘Black Negligee’ has handsome near-black foliage which highlights the white flower spires.  Heuchera ‘Black Taffeta,’ is another excellent plant for dark foliage as is Phormium ‘Platt’s Black’.  The strappy grass Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ looks stunning with silvers such as Stachys byzantina or white cyclamen.  Gorgeous dark leaved shrubs include black bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra, with fabulous polished black canes, and Sambuca nigra, another show-stopper with delicate black purple leaves which shows off the flat pale pink flowers beautifully.

Use dark plants in a few key areas of the garden, ideally with some sun to bring out the colour as dark plants tend to blend into shady spots.  And pair dark plants with lighter, brighter colours such as pale pink, mauve or blue flowers or silver foliage will flatter both  colours.