How Dark-Leaf Plants Enhance Outdoor Spaces

by | May 2024

First Editions® Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea

First Editions® Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea. Photo: First Editions® Shrubs & Trees/Tracy Walsh

This year, I’m all in on dark-leaf plants. The dark purple, red and black hues bring a dramatic, moody vibe to the landscape that I can’t get enough of. If you want to dip your toes into this hot garden trend that is here to stay, here are a few easy ways to make it happen.

Treat your plants as dark-leaf heroes by surrounding them with bright green, chartreuse or silver plants. There’s no easier plant pairing to make this happen than with Eclipse® Bigleaf Hydrangea and Cobalt-n-Gold™ Hypericum. New for 2024, Eclipse® is the first true dark-leaf mophead hydrangea that stay dark year after year. The dark purple, almost black, leaves on Eclipse® provide a fabulous dark-leaf backdrop for the bright green leaves on Cobalt-n-Gold™.

If you’re feeling a little bit bolder, celebrate all things dark-leaf by planting a monochromatic garden that pairs dark-leaf plants with other dark-leaf plants. The key to making this work is playing with texture. Plant something with fine leaves, like Fireside® Ninebark, next to something with broad leaves, like Northern Exposure™ Black Coralbells. The contrasting textures will make this pairing visually interesting, and you’ll be treated with a bold, dark-hued vignette in the garden.

Whatever avenue you go down, I encourage you to try planting dark-leaf plants this year. Why can’t our gardens be just as bold as we are?

Gretchen McNaughton is the communications and content strategist at Bailey Nurseries. Learn more at firsteditionsplants.com.

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