Black plants are not really black. The majority of them are dark purple or green, brown, deep burgundy, or combinations of these colors. However, that doesn’t diminish their beauty.

The dark color of the foliage is caused by a pigment found in the plant’s cells called anthocyanin. Chlorophyll, the pigment that causes the green color and facilitates photosynthesis, absorbs all the colors from the light spectrum except green, while anthocyanin absorbs only green and yellow, which makes the leaves look darker.

That doesn’t mean that black plants don’t have chlorophyll, because they do, but the intense pigmentation caused by anthocyanin masks it.

Without further ado, here are the top 11 black plants:

1. Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven’ (ZZ Raven)

 

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ZZ Raven was created by Van Winden-Erica B.V and has a plant patent, which means it can’t be propagated or sold without authorization. At this moment, the only authorized grower in the United States is Costa Farms.

Just like the green ZZ, Raven is a super-easy to grow houseplant and a perfect choice for a beginner gardener. It tolerates all types of light and doesn’t require much attention. Actually, ZZ plants grow better when the soil is allowed to dry out between watering.  It’s a slow-growing plant and its new offsets will be light green at first and will turn black with time.

According to a study from the Department of Plant and Environmental Science at the University of Copenhagen, the ZZ plant is capable of purifying the air by removing toxins such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene.

Toxicity

Toxic to pets and humans

Light Requirements

All types of light

Water Requirements

Allow soil to dry out between waterings

Maintenance

Low

2. Oxalis Triangularis (Purple Oxalis)

 

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Purple Oxalis is one of those hard-to-kill plants and, thanks to its tiny bulbs, it can regrow itself even after every leaf above the ground dies. It’s a light-sensible plant, and it opens and closes its leaves in response to light stimuli.

Also known as Purple Shamrock or Love Plant, it has three triangle-shaped leaves and is usually grown for its deep-purple foliage. It can also produce pink-white flowers, but they are not the main attraction in this case.

Easy to care for, Purple Oxalis doesn’t require much: standard potting soil, moderate watering, good drainage, and bright light are going to keep it alive and happy for a long, long time.

Toxicity

Toxic to pets and humans

Light Requirements

Bright, indirect light

Water Requirements

Allow soil to dry out between waterings

Maintenance

Low

3. Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ (Alocasia Reginula)

 

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Alocasia Reginula belongs to the Araceae family and is a slow-growing dwarf variety, being able to reach up to 1 foot high.

What makes it a piece of art is the perfect contrast between the dark velvety leaves and the silvery-white veins. However, all good stuff comes at a cost, and in this case, we are talking about its growing requirement. Alocasia Reginula is sensitive to wind and full sun, so make sure to place it in a protected spot. Water it with care, as it can easily suffer from root rot.

If all the growing requirements are met, there’s a chance that Alocasia Reginula will allow you to see its flowers. However, the main attraction will remain its deep-green leaves.

Toxicity

Toxic to pets and humans

Light Requirements

Bright, indirect light

Water Requirements

Allow soil to dry out between waterings

Maintenance

Medium

4. Colocasia Esculenta ‘Black Magic’ (Taro/Elephant Ears)

 

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Another member of the Araceae family, Colocasia has different growing requirement and appearances compared to its cousin, Alocasia.

Colocasia Black Magic is an easy to grow plant and can reach up to 3 to 5 feet high outdoors. However, it can do great indoors, as long as its growing requirements are met. Make sure to plant it in a large pot and fertilize it, because it’s a fast-growing and heavy feeding plant. Water it frequently and place it in a sunny spot, as it needs full sun to maintain its deep purple color.

 

Toxicity

Toxic to pets and humans

Light Requirements

Full sun to partial shade

Water Requirements

Moist to wet soil

Maintenance

Easy

5. Canna Lily ‘Tropicanna Black’

 

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Canna Lily Tropicana Black is known for its irresistible combination of dark-chocolate foliage and large scarlet red flowers. Due to its size (it can reach up to 5 feet high), it’s usually grown as an outdoor plant. Indoors, this black lily will need a huge container (3-5 gallon), well-draining potting soil for tropical houseplants, good drainage, humidity, and at least 6 hours of direct sun.

The hardest part is to provide enough sun for your plant, but the good news is: you can always supplement it with fluorescent grow lights.

In other words, if you’re looking for an indoor gardening challenge, this is your cue.

Toxicity

Not Toxic

Light Requirements

Full sun

Water Requirements

Allow soil to dry out between waterings

Maintenance

Moderate - High

6. Strobilanthes Dyeriana (Persian Shield)

 

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The Persian Shield is a flowering plant with silvery-purple leaves and green veins. It usually blooms when it’s in a warm environment, producing light blue flowers. But then again, its flowers are not the main attraction, as the plant is grown for the contrast provided by its amazing foliage.

The Persian shield plant can survive as an annual outdoor plant in USDA zones 8 – 11, but is usually grown indoors, since is pretty sensitive to cold and it prefers a humid environment. Make sure to pinch it back to force bushiness, as it can get pretty leggy.

Toxicity

Not Toxic

Light Requirements

Full sun to partial shade

Water Requirements

Allow soil to dry out between waterings

Maintenance

Medium

7. Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’

 

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If you’re looking to add diversity and contrast to your succulent garden, Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ will help you achieve that. Aeonium needs plenty of light to maintain its dark foliage, reason why is usually grown as an outdoor plant. However, if the temperature is too hot and the air to dry, the plant may go dormant.

Aeonium can be grown in sandy, well-drained soil, and will need a little bit more water than other succulents since it has a weak, undeveloped root system.

Aeonium is a flowering succulent and usually blooms around late winter or spring. Its flowers are yellow and can last up to a few weeks. Sadly, the rosette dies after flowering and is usually replaced by new pups.  If the plant doesn’t have any new offsets, it will completely die after flowering, so it’s recommended to propagate it when you have the chance.

Toxicity

N/A

Light Requirements

Full sun to light shade

Water Requirements

Sandy, dry to medium moisture

Maintenance

Medium

8. Calathea Rosepicta ‘Dottie’ (Rose Painted Calathea)

 

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Naturally found in rainforests, Calathea can easily thrive in places with a high humidity level and indirect lighting.

If you’re one of those people who overwater their plants out of love, Calathea Dottie might be a perfect choice for you, as it needs moist soil at all times. However, that doesn’t mean that too much water won’t kill it. Mist the plant regularly to ensure there’s enough humidity in the air and make sure to keep it away from the sun.

Calathea Rosepicta Dottie is also an air purifying plant and can remove harmful gas particles like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

Toxicity

Not Toxic

Light Requirements

Bright, indirect light to partial shade

Water Requirements

Moist at all times

Maintenance

Low

9. Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ (Black Hens and Chicks)

 

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Echeveria Black Prince is another flowering succulent with black foliage. Its foliage is usually dark red or purple and it grows around a light green center. In late fall or winter, you may notice stems reaching out from its center, meaning the plant is going to produce flowers.

It’s an easy to grow plant and, like other succulents, all you have to do is to respect some basic care rules. Place the Black Prince in a sunny spot and make sure not to overwater it. In exchange, you’ll be rewarded with clumps of bright red flowers.

Toxicity

Not Toxic

Light Requirements

Full sun to partial shade

Water Requirements

Allow soil to completely dry out between waterings

Maintenance

Low

10. Peperomia Metallica (Red Tree)

 

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Peperomias are easy to grow houseplants that have been around for a while. Originally from the rainforest, these houseplants enjoy a humid environment and a moderate level of shade.

Peperomia Metallica is a bushy perennial and can make an excellent choice for a hanging plant. Its leaves have a brown-chocolate color with a silver stripe along the center and a red-burgundy underneath.

Usually grown for its foliage, Peperomia Metallica can also produce panicle-like flowers in the late summer.

Toxicity

Not Toxic

Light Requirements

Bright, indirect light to partial shade

Water Requirements

Allow soil to dry out between waterings

Maintenance

Low

11. Sinocrassula Yunnanensis (Chinese Jade)

 

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Syncrossula Yunnanensis is a hard to kill flowering succulent native to China’s Yunnan Province and is also known as Chinese Jade. Being a monocarpic succulent, its rosettes die after blooming and are replaced by the closest ones.

When it comes to growing requirements, this black plant asks for less than the average succulent. It grows best when placed in bright light, but it can also thrive in less sunny areas. Compared to the other black succulents mentioned above, the Chinese Jade prefers dry condition, and its leaves can store water for a long time, so make sure to avoid overwatering.

It usually flowers in autumn and early winter, and its seeds can be collected and used for propagation.

Toxicity

Toxic to pets

Light Requirements

Full sun to partial shade

Water Requirements

Allow soil to completely dry out between waterings

Maintenance

Low

Conclusion

If you want to add a little bit of contrast to your indoor garden, black plants are the way to go. Let’s not forget about the fact that a few of them produce awesome flowers. Remember Black Prince’s and Aeonium’s flowers?

If one of your favorite black plants is not on this list, let me know, and I’ll make sure to add it!

About the Author - Denis Sgarbura

Hello. I’m Denis. My passion for growing plants started when I was around 10 or 11 years old. My grandpa loved to take care of roses. He had a breathtaking rose garden. I wanted one badly. So, I started my own. I was stoked when my roses showed signs of growth. It became a competition: my garden vs. his garden. He won every time, but I never gave up and did my best to make it extraordinary. I read everything there was to know about roses and how to grow them.

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