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


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This