While leaving a few spider webs intact will create a spooky atmosphere, I suggest growing plants with black flowers and foliage.

Halloween's the perfect excuse to indulge in the rich colors and bold contrasts that black flowers and foliage provide. While the color black usually calls to mind chic urban settings or your favorite slimming outfit, black's equally at home in your garden, provided you pair it with the right colors to show it at its best.

Plants with grey foliage provide the perfect backdrop to black flowers or leaves, because the lightness of the grey helps the black "pop". Bronze or amber tones also make a natural pairing with black. The unexpected color combination makes people's heads turn.

However, black, grey, and bronze often look best as accents or focal points in the garden. Lush green and chartreuse foliage provide a needed balance, so that your black plants shine vibrantly rather than look dull or dead.

Take a walk on the dark side and plant these six striking black plants in container combinations for Halloween, or in the landscape to enjoy year-round.

Container Plants:

Tropicanna Black (Canna 'Tropicanna Black')

Tropicanna Black (Canna 'Tropicanna Black')

This canna lily has dramatic black foliage that takes a starring role in any container. It shoots up to five feet tall, with wide, rounded leaves that draw the eye. The reddish-orange blooms in summer provide a cheerful contrast, but it's usually finished blooming by Halloween, so the eerie dark foliage takes center stage. Tropicanna Black can survive outdoors in a large pot or in the ground in USDA zones 7 on up. If you live in a colder clime, it's a simple matter to dig up the rhizomes in late fall and plant them again in spring. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Tesselaar USA Inc)

Dolce Licorice Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Dolce Licorice')

Dolce Licorice Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Dolce Licorice')

This gleaming black plant shows off gorgeously in a pot, filling the space around a taller centerpiece plant, and spilling lightly over the edges for a soft look. It forms a clump about 1 foot tall, and the delicately veined foliage is both elegant and slightly macabre. Dolce Licorice coral bells are happy in sun or bright shade, and will look great year-round in zones 4 and warmer. (Photo courtesy of Proven Winners)

Black Moneywort (Lysimachia 'Midnight Sun')

Black Moneywort (Lysimachia 'Midnight Sun')

Black moneywort has a habit like a waterfall, spilling over the side of a pot and adding a splash of deep chocolaty purple to your container planting. Bright yellow blooms in summer give it the name 'Midnight Sun', and provide a vivid contrast to the dark foliage. While in most climates it's an annual that needs yearly replanting, this sun-loving plant is such an exuberant grower that you get a long season of color in your container plantings. (Photo courtesy of Proven Winners)

Landscape Plants:

Purple Plantain (Plantago major 'Purpurea')

Purple Plantain (Plantago major 'Purpurea')

While many people are familiar with the wide variety of coral bells available, purple plantain's still relatively unknown in landscaping circles, though it offers similarly exciting foliage and an even tougher habit. It's hardy to zone 4, and can tolerate both wind and compacted soils if given full sun. The deep purple foliage brings a perfect contrast to chartreuse or green plants, and it makes an ideal edging plant, since it stays low and looks good year-round. In summer, it puts out little spikes of white blooms which age gracefully into brown seeds for fall. While it isn't a thug, it will propagate itself for you, so within a few years you'll have enough to fill the border.

Black Adder Flax (Phormium 'Black Adder')

Black Adder Flax (Phormium 'Black Adder')

Black Adder's one of the newest stars in the Goth garden. This dark flax skulks about the garden wearing all black, all year long. The strap-like foliage emerges upright and then droops at the tips for a graceful appearance. It shines a rich chocolate in the sunshine, and has a deeper black appearance in partial shade. While it can reach 5 feet tall and wide under ideal garden conditions (it's hardy to zone 8), it also conforms itself well to a large pot. That means anyone in zone 7 or under can bring this black beauty in for the winter and enjoy the bite of 'Black Adder' year after year. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Tesselaar USA Inc)

Purple New Zealand Myrtle (Lophomyrtus ralphii 'Purpurea')

Purple New Zealand Myrtle (Lophomyrtus ralphii 'Purpurea')

This blackish-purple shrub solves one of the perennial problems in the garden; what to plant that's tall but not wide? It reaches 8 feet tall, but can be kept a petite 3 feet wide with just a bit of pruning. This makes it a great choice for hiding vents or rain gutters, without the size seeming out of scale with your home. The rounded, wrinkled leaves have a shiny appearance, and the color is an attractive shade that fits in with nearly any planting scheme. It's hardy to zone 8, and since it's from coastal New Zealand, can tolerate windy sites with ease. Plant this attractive evergreen shrub near your front door, and at Halloween, tuck a few tombstones and giant spiders around it for a deliciously dark display.

Landscaping Network

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