Set the mood by adding black houseplants into your home. Many homeowners shy away from the use of the colour black, in abundance or even as a pop of colour. However, interior designers are praising the return of black as a trend in the design world, giving those feeling adventurous a number of ways to do it with elegance and sophistication.
Black is certainly the colour of drama. Just a small amount draws the eye and provides intense contrast to any colour it is paired with. When used with purpose, it can create a unique feature that is bold but comforting at the same time. Feature walls, furniture or smaller furnishings like cushions and rugs can benefit from a drop of this trending colour.
If black is simply too bold for your current space it doesn’t mean you have to give up on the trend altogether. An easy and non-permanent way to include black in your indoor spaces is by adding black houseplants to your indoor plant collection. Look to the world of houseplants to fulfil your needs (in design and in gardening) without making too many changes.
Black is just as elusive in the plant world as it is in design, with very few plants and flowers sporting the colour. Most plants labelled black aren’t even technically black, but rather such a deep green or red that they appear black in certain lighting. Sunlight is usually the key to their drastic colour, with higher light levels providing the closest colour to black you can get.
For those interested in adding some black houseplants to their collection, give these six options a go. Some may be difficult to find thanks to their rarity and popularity, but they are well worth the extra search.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Raven’
The ‘Raven’ ZZ plant is arguably the most well-known of all the black houseplants. Easy to come by thanks to their rising popularity in recent years, this cultivar has long stems dotted with small leaves in a burgundy-black colour. As a bonus, these plants are also incredibly easy to care for and almost impossible to kill.
ZZ Plants can largely be left alone, preferring a little neglect in care over extra fuss. Thanks to their large water-storing rhizomes, they can go several weeks without water, only needing more when their soil has dried out completely. While their colour and growth will improve in bright indirect light, these plants are also one of the few suitable for low light areas.
Peperomia caperata ‘Burgundy Ripple’
‘Burgundy Ripple’ is a relatively rare Peperomia caperata cultivar that retains the classic ruffled leaves of the species but differs greatly in colour. Featuring deep red, almost black foliage dotted with patches of dark green, each leaf retains its own interesting mottled colour pattern. In the right conditions, they will also produce the long-spiked flowers these plants are known for, hanging high above the dark backdrop.
‘Burgundy Ripple’ is not tricky to care for. They need a bit more moisture than the previous plant, needing a top up as soon as the top layer of soil dries out. Ensure there is plenty of drainage in the soil and container to prevent waterlogging and root rot. Place them in bright sunlight but out of the path of the direct sun for the best growth and the possibility of flowers.
Ficus elastica ‘Black Prince’
One of the most popular houseplants on the market, the rubber tree is a must have for every indoor space. These tough plants have gorgeous glossy leaves and grow quickly to fill out corners with ease. If you’ve already collected a few cultivars of different colours, look for the dramatic ‘Black Prince’, with deep emerald to black leaves that intensify in brighter light.
Younger rubber trees require a little more attention than older and more established ones. They are not heavy water users, requiring watering only when the top half of the soil has dried out completely. Plant in a large pot to give the roots enough space to expand and keep light levels high but indirect to avoid scorching the leaves.
If there was ever a plant described perfectly by its common name, it would be ‘Black Velvet’. This sought-after alocasia has large leaves with a dark, velvety look to them. Although technically dark green in colour, in certain conditions the leaves do look almost black. This colour is intensified by the bright white veins, creating fascinating contrast between the two and a look that is bound to turn heads.
This alocasia species appreciates warm temperatures and high humidity indoors. Although they are slow growers, placing them in strong indirect light throughout the year will provide the quickest possible growth. When propagating or trimming, wear gloves to stop the sap within the stems from irritating the skin. Also keep this plant away from pets and children.
Colocasia ‘Black Magic’
Colocasia plants, commonly known as taro or elephant’s ear, are generally grown outdoors as foliage plants, appreciated for their massive towering leaves. But, thanks to their affinity for tropical conditions, they also make wonderful indoor plants when given enough light and the space to expand. ‘Black Magic’ is the cultivar to search for, with purple-black leaves that darken with higher light exposure.
Don’t be surprised if the new leaves of this species emerge green – they will mature to a deeper purple or black with age. This plant can handle a couple of hours of direct sun indoors, as long as the light is gentle (preferably in the mornings). Keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy and fertilize once a month in spring and summer for leaves that are larger than life.
Philodendron ‘Black Cardinal’
Any houseplant list is incomplete without at least one philodendron, and ‘Black Cardinal’ is sure to shine in your collection. The leaves start out a stunning burgundy as they emerge, slowly darkening to the black colour they are appreciated for. This variety, despite its different looks, is no more difficult to care for than any other philodendron in your home.
Philodendrons are tolerant of a range of lighting conditions. While they will grow best in bright indirect light, they can also handle moderate to low light quite well. Water when the top layer of soil begins to dry out but don’t wait too long – the large leaves can become limp and fall over quickly when under-watered.