Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Plants, for Black Friday

This seems like such a natural for me, I can't believe I've never done it. Here we are, Black Friday...that day we pay tribute to the great American tradition of shopping. Or not. Oh I've not always been anti-Black Friday. No, there were many years my mom and brother Darin and I would head out shopping. But it was different then. No stores were open on Thanksgiving. Nobody was in line at 5am for the "door-busters." It was just a fun tradition and a way of celebrating the season and being together. These days the only kind of store I will set foot in on Black Friday is a nursery.

So, to mark the day I thought it would be fun to see what black plants I'm currently growing. Of course a lot of dark foliage isn't truly black, this Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'Hindwarf' for example.

There are some dark stripes on this Cordyline banksii 'Electric Flash', but not really black.

Hmm, yep, I think a few of those Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Rainbow' leaves look dark enough to be considered black.

Ditto for a few of these Astelia 'Red Devil' leaves.

Yucca desmetiana 'Blue Boy' comes close, but really dark purple is about it.

I know Cornus sanguinea 'Compressa' will have some super dark tones, if those leaves are allowed to age just right.

Rhododendron 'Ebony Pearl' can also get pretty close to black, in the right sunlight.

Like this...

There's definitely black on Begonia 'Little Brother Montgomery', which yes, is in the ground and has been for a couple winters. It took it's sweet time to pop back and produce a leaf this year, I just noticed it a couple weeks ago.

Cordyline 'Renegade' is pretty darn dark. It's an annual though, unless we have a super mild winter.

Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' leaves are definitely black, especially against a cloudy sky.

Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop'...(how can you argue when black is in the name?)

The blackest of the black though? In my garden it's got to be the black mondo grass...

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'

Although who would argue that Daphne x houtteana isn't black?

Not I...

Let's take a look inside, and see what's on the dark side; Cryptanthus 'Black Mystic' certainly counts.

Zingiber malaysianum 'Midnight' is even darker when I remember to dust the leaves.

This bromeliad with no name is pretty dark...

And this Cryptanthus 'Black Mystic' is even darker than the other one I shared.

Vriesea splendens

Billbergia 'Hallelujah'

There are quite a few dark stripes on this Vriesea fosteriana.

The Racinaea crispa has stayed pretty dark since coming inside for the cool months.

And there's no denying the splotches on this NOID Bromeliad are black.

*sigh* beautiful. Cryptanthus lacerdae 'Menescal' is so so dark, I'd call those stripes black—no problem.

Finally this sad little aeonium, definitely black. What about you? embracing the shopping madness today? Or staying at home with your (black?) plants?

Weather Diary, Nov 28: Hi 44, Low 37/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. This is a fun post for today; I stay as far away as possible from shopping center till after the first week of January, nurseries not included. Truly black foliage like the mondo grass is unique and hard to come by. Cryptanthus lacerdae 'Menescal' is stunning! Looks like a sea creature. Is it forming a bud in the center or just more leafs? ("just" is plenty in this case).

    1. That's a bunch of flowers at the center of the Cryptanthus, which ruins the perfect symmetry, but means babies (more plants!)...

  2. I knew black mondo grass would be here, it's the only plant that I think truly is black. I did like seeing all the other dark foliage you have, though. That silvery Cryptanthus 'Menescal' with dark stripes looks like a Christmas ornament.

    I'd like to pop out to the grocery store in a little while to pick up a coupe of things, but I'm afraid it will be a madhouse. I normally try to stay far away from stores during Christmas shopping season, but it's impossible to avoid grocery shopping.

    1. I shopped at Fred Meyer on Monday. The greeter at the door said to me "welcome to the madhouse..." true! I've managed to avoid them all (stores) thus far, but I'll have to return to FM on Monday. Hopefully it won't be too horrid.

  3. This is a much better tradition than hauling oneself to the mall - the idea of the parking lot alone makes me shudder. You've got a very nice collection of black, almost black and black want-to-be plants. Coincidentally, I was looking at that Racinaea crispa online just yesterday but passed thinking it wouldn't survive our dry season. The Cryptanthus is wonderful. Off-hand, the only plant in my garden I can think of that I'd say is truly black is Leucadendron 'Ebony'.

    1. You've got one my favorites there Kris, Leucadendron 'Ebony' is one of my very favorites...

  4. That was fun. I like really dark plants; you have some beauties. Just picked up Colocasia 'Black Ruffles' taro plant. It's every bit as black as the 'Black Magic' I had at my former garden and I like those ruffly leaves among the ferns. I love the black mondo grass too, but mine is sooo slooow. I sometimes think it's the same size as when I planted it 2 years ago.
    Ditto. Avoid Black Friday shopping crowds like the plague.

    1. Oh ya, the dark colocasia are wonderful! Mine is dormant now so it didn't get included.

  5. Now this is an observation of Black Friday that I can endorse. ;)

  6. Great idea for a post, and beautiful plant examples, as always!


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