Friday, March 1, 2024
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Crimson leaves, midnight blooms

Embrace the dark side of nature and awaken your garden with shadows and blooms

When someone embraces the multifaceted identity of a gardener or plant enthusiast, there’s often a lightness or whimsy associated with them.

I mean, sure the ability to nurture life and cultivate sustenance warrants a bit of patience and a gentle soul.

However having a green thumb doesn’t exclude you from a little bit dark-sided.

In this season of darkness and gloom, let’s put aside the vibrant pastels and lush greens, and instead, let’s paint your garden with shades of black and crimson.

PHOTO: ENVATO

We’re about to explore plants that are not only stunning but also appealing to the macabre sense of dread.

You’d be surprised how a touch of black can transform a garden into something hauntingly beautiful.

ZAMIOCULCAS ZAMIIFOLIA ‘ZZ’ RAVEN

With its glossy dark green leaves and long arching stems, the ZZ plant is a favourite among indoor and outdoor gardeners for the elegance that it brings to any space and most importantly,
for its adaptability, being able to survive in almost any light conditions, even environments with low light.

That being said, did you ever think the ZZ plant, with its deep green hues, could get even darker?

Well, meet its captivating cousin, the ZZ Raven, boasting leaves so dark they’re almost black.

Aptly named, this variety can add a little bit of intrigue to your garden.

The best part about caring for a ZZ Raven is that it is as undemanding as its greener counterpart.

Just like the regular ZZ plant, it requires minimal attention, making it an ideal choice for the average modern-day lifestyle.

So, if you’re seeking a plant companion to darken up a corner that is hassle free, this garden favourite is the perfect choice.

CALATHEA ROSEOPICTA ‘DOTTIE’

The Calathea ‘Dottie,’ a captivating member of the Calathea family, is renowned for its unique behaviour typically associated with the variety’s other moniker, prayer plants.

These fascinating plants have a peculiar habit of opening and closing their leaves in rhythmic patterns and while most if not all Calatheas behave this way, the ‘Dottie’ with its striking features, takes this mesmerising routine to the next level.

Its leaves, a lush blend of deep green and almost burgundy, bordering on black, intensify the visual spectacle.

PHOTO: ENVATO

Also known as the rose-painted Calathea, the dottie’s foliage are adorned with a ribbon of vibrant pink stripes that elegantly trace the border and centre, creating a striking contrast with the deep plum hue on the underside of the leaves.

But ‘Dottie’ isn’t just about its leaves. Its compact and bushy growth habit enhances its visual appeal, making it the perfect addition to spaces in need of a vibrant and visually striking focal point.

If you’re searching for a plant that embodies a touch of goth, a hint of grunge, and a whole lot of aesthetic elegance, then look no further.

Dot your garden with ‘Dottie’ and let its unique beauty transform your surroundings into a botanical masterpiece.

COLOCASIA ‘BLACK MAGIC’

With a name that evokes a scent of enchantment and allure, you would think that the Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ was a rare specimen.

Alas, despite commanding attention in any garden with its deep purple-black leaves, that is just a shade of midnight, this Colocasia is very common and inexpensive.

Their dark heart-shaped leaves, can grow up to 60 centimetres (cm)  long and more than 40cm wide, adding a tropical ambience that is filled with drama and mystery.

And in addition to its bewitching black foliage, this plant thrives in full to partial sun, requiring a minimum of four to six hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth and optimal darkness, as a Black Magic that receives less sun, will turn out more green than black.

The ‘Black Magic’ is also a versatile landscaping plant that can create depth and contrast to your garden. So if you’re looking to cast a spell in this season with your garden plants, might I suggest the enchantress that is the ‘Black Magic’.

HOYA PUBICALYX ‘RED BUTTONS’

The Hoya pubicalyx ‘Red Buttons,’ is a cultivar that mesmerises with its vivid new leaves and the profound darkness of its blooms, creating a captivating contrast when it matures and blossoms.

This hoya earned its name from the glossy elliptical leaves that emerge as a deep red reminiscent of real buttons which will later transform into a lush, dark green hue.

The blend of maroon and green sets the stage for the plant’s full splendor as it matures, producing clusters of star-shaped flowers that are not only waxy but also intensely fragrant.

What sets the Red Buttons apart from its Hoya Pubicalyx counterparts is its unique blooms, which boast a deep shade of purple, almost appearing black under the right lighting conditions.

In every bloom, the Red Buttons adds a beautiful savagery that’s worth your admiration. 

HOYA ARCHBOLDIANA

Hoya archboldiana, native to our region with roots in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, like most hoyas is a climbing vine, belonging to the Apocynaceae family, with glossy, dark green, and slightly succulent oval-shaped leaves.

Similar to some of its hoya counterparts, the archboldiana’s leaves start off a vivid red, growing into enormous sizes, reaching up to half the length of an average person’s forearm as the plant matures.

This distinctive transformation from crimson new growth to almost black, massive foliage creates an almost Jurassic aura, setting it apart from the more common hoya species.

What truly makes archboldiana exceptional is its blooms. While most hoyas have star-shaped flowers, archboldiana’s blossoms are bell-shaped, taking on an otherworldly appearance.

These unique flowers, coupled with its prehistoric foliage, give the plant an almost extraterrestrial vibe, making it a captivating choice for enthusiasts seeking novelty and a tropical atmosphere that exudes a sense of ancient mystery and
suspense.

If you crave a touch of the Jurassic era in your garden and desire a plant that resonates with a weathered yet intriguing charm, Hoya archboldiana is the perfect choice for that air of exotic mystique. – Wardi Wasil

PHOTO: ENVATO
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