Issue 55 More Black Flowers

Why grow black flowers? Not just for the sake of having a conversation piece in your garden, although they are good for that. The best reason is because they have so many design uses. For example, black flowers are great for cooling down hot colors, like fire-engine-red ‘Lucifer’ crocosmia or hot-orange Mexican sunflower. If you would like to know more about designing with black flowers, you can read about them in Garden Gate Issue 55.

Nectar plants

Name Cold / Heat Zones Height/Width Comments
Bearded iris Iris ‘Superstition’ 3 to 9/
9 to 1
30 to 36 in./
18 in.
Perennial with purple-black flowers; late-spring bloom; easy to grow; full sun; well-drained soil
Black iris Iris chrysographes 3 to 9/
9 to 1
24 in./10 in. Hardy bulb with velvety ebony-black flowers in June; swordlike green foliage; full sun to part shade
Black or chocolate cosmos Cosmos atrosanguineus 7 to 10/
10 to 1
30 in./18 in. Perennial; velvety maroon-black flowers in midsummer to autumn; flowers lightly chocolate scented; full sun; well-drained soil
Clematis Clematis ‘Romantika’ 4 to 9/
9 to 1
8 to 10 ft./
3 to 4 ft.
Vine; large purple-black flowers; pruning group 3; flowers midsummer; sun to part shade
Dahlia Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ 8 to 11/
12 to 1
36 in./24 in. Tender tuber, dig and store for winter in cold climates; dinner plate blooms of maroon-black; full sun; well-drained soil
Daylily Hemerocallis ‘Starling’ 3 to 9/
9 to 1
26 to 30 in./
24 in.
Perennial; velvety deep-chocolate and mahogany-black blend with a golden throat; 6-in.-wide blooms in June and July; full sun; well-drained soil
Fritillaria Fritillaria persica 6 to 8/
8 to 1
3 ft./6 in. Bulbous erennial with tall stems; burgundy-black flowers in spring; sun to part shade
Geranium Geranium phaeum ‘Samobor’ 3 to 8/
8 to 1
14 to 16 in./
14 to 18 in.
Perennial with maroon-black flowers in May and June; leaves marked with brown blotch
Nemophila Nemophila menziesii ‘Pennie Black’ Annual/
12 to 1
12 in./10 in. Annual; five-petaled purple-black flowers with a scalloped edge of white; sow seed directly in early spring; full sun to part shade
Pincushion flower Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Ace of Spades’ Annual/
12 to 1
24 to 36 in./
15 to 18 in.
Annual; pincushionlike purple-black flowers; sow seed directly in early spring; flowers in summer; good cut flower; full sun
Purple gooseneck loosestrife Lysimachia atropurpurea 6 to 9/
9 to 1
18 in./15 in. Perennial; spikes of red-black flowers in mid- to late summer; also good in containers; full sun to part shade; moist soil
Sweet William Dianthus barbatus nigrescens ‘Sooty’ 4 to 10/
10 to 1
15 in./12 in. Perennial; maroon-chocolate flowers on red stems; fragrant, early summer blooms; full sun to part shade; well-drained soil
Whipple’s beardtongue Penstemon whippleanus 4 to 8/
8 to 1
2 ft./1 ft. Perennial; clusters of black flowers open in late July to early August; full sun; well-drained, slightly alkaline soil