Dark plants are rock stars of the garden; they’ll take center stage and make passers-by do a double take when they see their dark side. Dark plants also make lighter-foliaged plants that normally fade into the background stand out and shine. Plant some of these 6 dark plants in your flower garden for added color and drama without added effort.
Ajuga, (Ajuga reptans) also known as bugle weed, is a low-growing, perennial ground cover that produces round purple leaves with dark purple veins running through the leaf center. This dark ground cover grows where few other plants will grow – in moist shade. Hardy in zones 3-9, the plant produces small spikes of purple flowers that are very attractive to bees.
Caladiums (Caladium) come in a variety of leaf colors, ranging from pale green to blackish-red. The large, dark, heart-shaped foliage will pop when planted in the midst of the smaller leafed and lighter colored varieties of caladium. Caladiums grow best in partial shade, warm climates and moist soil. Hardy in in zones 6-10 and reach a mature size of 1-3 feet tall and 1-3 feet wide, depending on type of bulbs planted.
Another dark horse in the garden arena, coleus (also known as flame nettle and painted nettle) are annual, non-flowering, easy-care plants. Start from seeds or plants, some varieties require full shade and some will tolerate partial sun, read plant labels to ensure you’re buying the correct ones for your garden location. Coleus colors go as dark as deep red wine with a couple dark varieties named after wines. Hardy in zones 6-9 and reaching a mature height of 15 inches.
Hardy in zones 7-11, tall-growing cannas are often used for borders and hedges. All varieties bear flowers throughout the summer, but one variety named the Tropicanna Black boasts purplish-black foliage topped with dark red flowers. Cannas spread quickly and will need dug up and separated every 4-5 years.
Usually thought of as a tropical plant that produces a large, pastel colored bloom, but some varieties are dark, flower-less beauties. Panama Red is one such varieties that wows in a dark garden with its striking, dark, variegated foliage. Hibiscus do have limited hardiness zones (unless grown indoors) and are usually only viable in an outdoor garden in zones 9-11.
A dark purple fountain grass with spiked foliage and burgundy seed pods that grows well in partial sun and can be used in dried floral arrangements. Pennisetum (Pennisetum setacuem) reaches a mature height of 3 feet and is hardy in zones 8-10.