Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Exotic Dark Lilies

Dark plants have become popular in gardens. They are exotic and striking, providing great visual interest. Dark plants can be nearly black, but usually they are a form of very dark purple or deep red. When they are paired with companion plants in complimentary colors they make a showy grouping.

Lily breeders have produced dark cultivars of lilium as part of this trend. Look for these wonderful black cultivars and consider planting them in the pairings suggested below. All of these lilies require at least 6 hours of sun.

Dimension – Asiatic lily with wide, very dark purple petals, nearly black. While not as reliable as some Asiatic lilies, this handsome lily is the darkest lily on the market and is worth cultivating for that color! Match it up with golden garden plants such as golden spirea or Hakonochloa 'All Gold'

Night Flyer Lilium
Lilium 'Night Flyer'

Night Flyer– a recent introduction to the lily trade, delicate looking flowers have a delicate, flyaway look but are quite sturdy. Imagine this lily growing out of a clump of Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens (black monkey grass) The spidery blackness of the grass perfectly complements this witchy looking lily.

Lilium 'Landini'

Landini – Asiatic near-black lily with slender petals. When paired with pink or red petunias, this black lily pops!

Olina – this striking lily is not all dark, it is red with a dark black center on star shaped flowers. This would look stunning in a container where Black Magic coleus provides mid-height interest and trailing chartreuse sweet potato vine sets off the black color of both.

Black plants joined with plants of contrasting color will give zing to your garden! Enjoy the new black lilies in your plantings.

 --by Kim Peterson 

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