19 Plants with Black and White Flowers

The right combination of flowering plants can transform your backyard garden into a living rainbow. But there’s also something to be said about the elegant look of more subdued shades of black and white flowers.

In this article, I’ll share some of my favorite black and white flowers for various applications in the home garden and beyond.

19 Black and White Flowers Worth Growing

These black and white flowering plants can be easy to overlook, especially when surrounded by vibrant colors like pink, purple, and orange. I encourage you to explore some of the different ways you could incorporate some of these plants into your garden design. You may be surprised by the results!

1. Diablo Ninebark

Diablo Ninebark

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’

  • Hardiness Zone: 3 to 7
  • Bloom Time: Summer

A relatively unassuming member of the rose family, ninebark is a hardy shrub ideal for hedges and foundation borders. There are several cultivars available, but Diablo is a fan-favorite with its near-black foliage and white flower clusters.

Ninebark can reach sizes of up to 10 feet tall and wide but is easy to keep in check with annual pruning. This deciduous white flowering shrub will grow in full or partial sun. 

Note that the leaves may fade to green if the plant is stressed. For the best performance, plant your ninebark somewhere that receives plenty of morning sun and lightly irrigate during periods of drought.

2. Dark and Handsome Hellebore

Dark and Handsome Hellebore

Helleborus x ‘Dark and Handsome’

  • Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
  • Bloom Time: Early spring

Also known as Lenten roses, hellebores are early bloomers that thrive in heavy shade. Dark and Handsome is a double-flowered cultivar with purple-black petals and yellowish centers.

Hellebores are a great way to add interest to a spring garden. These perennials are a valuable pollinator food source at the start of the year when many other plants are just getting started.

3. Blackie Sweet Potato Vine

Blackie Sweet Potato Vine

Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’

  • Hardiness Zone: 9 to 11
  • Bloom Time: Late summer

If you’re looking for the perfect plant to trail over the edge of a container or garden wall, I highly suggest giving a sweet potato vine a try. This ornamental version of the edible tuber is easy to grow and vigorous. 

The most common sweet potato vines have bright green foliage. However, there are a couple of varieties with stunningly dark leaves, including ‘Blackie’. These trailing vines occasionally produce white, pink, or lavender flowers.

4. Black Hollyhock

Black Hollyhock

Alcaea rosea

  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
  • Bloom Time: Summer

Stalwarts of the cottage-style garden, hollyhocks are biennials (or very short-lived perennials) with towering flower stalks. The flowers themselves are very reminiscent of those in the hibiscus or mallow family — it’s somewhat familiar to see one mislabeled as another. 

Since it’s normal for hollyhocks to reach at least 6 feet in height, I recommend planting them along a wall or fence line for extra support. With that said, hollyhocks also benefit from ample air circulation to help fight off common diseases like hollyhock rust (Puccinia malvacearum).

5. Black Lace Elderberry

Black Lace Elderberry

Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’

  • Hardiness Zones: 4 to 7
  • Bloom Time: Spring

You may be familiar with elderberries as a tart snack, but the shrubs themselves also make wonderful landscape perennials. The Black Lace elderberry is a particularly popular cultivar with dark leaves and white flower clusters. (I should note, however, that Black Lace is not renowned for its fruit quality.)

The leaves of elderberry shrubs are often compared to those of Japanese maples. The spring flowers are sweetly citrus-scented and produce brilliant red berries in the late summer and fall. Though this variety isn’t a top choice for human consumption, the birds are sure to appreciate the feast!

6. Bugbane

Bugbane

Actaea simplex

  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
  • Bloom Time: Late summer or fall

According to The Morton Arboretum, bugbanes are a remarkably low-maintenance and shade-tolerant garden perennial. It’s native to North America and is often used in naturalizing landscapes. 

Bugbane varies in size from one variety to another. Many varieties can grow 3 to 5 feet tall (or more) before fading at the end of the season. Bugbane is relatively cold-tolerant, and the roots can survive winter conditions down to -40ºF.

Not all bugbane plants are black and white. A few I recommend include ‘Brunette’ and ‘Black Negligee’.

7. Flower-of-an-Hour

Flower-of-an-Hour

Hibiscus trionum

  • Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
  • Bloom Time: Summer

Flower-of-an-hour is a Eurasian wildflower belonging to the hibiscus or mallow family. In a tale as old as time, it was originally brought to North America and other regions as an ornamental but is primarily seen as a weed today.

As far as weeds go, flower-of-an-hour is admittedly quite attractive. The showy flowers are white with purple or black centers. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, its common name comes from the fact that the flowers tend to only last about a day — a trait common among other members of the hibiscus family.

8. Dusky Cranesbill

Dusky Cranesbill

Geranium phaeum

  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
  • Bloom Time: Early summer

Also commonly known as a mourning widow, this hardy geranium is widespread in the Alps and adjacent habitats throughout Europe. Many varieties have also been cultivated and distributed for growing in the home garden.

Dusky cranesbill flowers range from purple to near-black with striking white centers. It is native to woodland areas, making it the ideal perennial for growing in partial or complete shade. Note that this hardy geranium also prefers damp (albeit well-drained) soil, a tolerance not often seen in many landscape perennials.

9. Petunia

Petunia

Petunia hybrida

  • Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Bloom Time: Spring to fall

There are several kinds of petunias with white and black flowers. Some famous examples include the Night Sky petunia and Black & White Crazytunia.

Modern petunias are hybrids with prolific flowers and minimal care needs. My one recommendation is to ensure your petunias get at least 6 hours of sun per day, or else they may not produce as many flowers as you’d like.

10. Ghost Plant

Ghost Plant

Monotropa uniflora

  • Hardiness Zones: 4 to 11
  • Bloom Time: Summer to fall

You’re unlikely to find a ghost plant growing in anyone’s garden. Still, I think this North American wildflower is one of the most exciting examples of a black-and-white flower nature has to offer.

Ghost plants are classified as mycotrophic plants. Plants in this category lack chlorophyll and cannot produce their own ‘food’ through photosynthesis. Instead, they utilize fungi in the soil to sap energy from the roots of other plants.

When they first emerge, ghost plants are all white and often mistaken for mushrooms. Over time, the top of the stem will produce a bell-shaped flower that darkens as it ages.

11. Freckled Nemophila

Freckled Nemophila

Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria

  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
  • Bloom Time: Spring to early summer

This is a natural variety of baby blue eyes distributed across California and Oregon. The flowers boast white petals speckled with black ‘freckles’.

Freckled Nemophila flowers aren’t widely available outside of their native region. However, I have encountered some local seed distributors for gardeners interested in adding this low-growing perennial to their collection.

12. Fivespot

Fivespot

Nemophila maculata

  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10
  • Bloom Time: Spring to summer

Another member of the Nemophila genus worth mentioning is Fivespot. This plant has white flowers with dark purple dots at the tip of each petal. It grows natively along North America’s west coast but is also quite popular in home gardens.

Fivespot is a low-growing, trailing annual that looks best in containers or border beds. It’s also an excellent option for adding to a rock garden. This plant is a huge attractant of insect pollinators ranging from bees to butterflies.

13. Penny Black Nemophila

Penny Black Nemophila

Nemophila menziesii ‘Penny Black’

  • Hardiness Zones:
  • Bloom Time: 

The last Nemophila I want to spotlight is Penny Black. This cultivar is one of the most popular in the genus for landscape ornaments. It is a sprawling annual that tolerates full or partial sun.

Penny Black is the darkest of the Nemophila. It has predominantly black flowers with pure white borders. 

14. Royal Wedding Oriental Poppy

Royal Wedding Oriental Poppy

Papaver orientale ‘Royal Wedding’

  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
  • Bloom Time: Late spring

The Royal Wedding oriental poppy is a definite go-to for any garden design needing a black and white flower. This variety is widely available and boasts some of the showiest, crispest blooms of any plant mentioned in this article.

Perhaps one of the best things about this plant is that you can easily mix and match various colours to liven up your garden bed. Oriental poppies can grow up to 3 feet tall, so you can also combine them with shorter flowering plants for a layered display.

15. Sappho Rhododendron

Sappho Rhododendron

Rhododendron sp. ‘Sappho’

  • Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8
  • Bloom Time: Spring

This slow-growing hybrid rhododendron is beloved for its lacy white flowers tinged with dark purple centers. The Sappho rhododendron is an evergreen shrub — rhododendrons can be either deciduous or evergreen, depending on the variety.

Sappho rhododendrons are currently being crossed with other cultivars to improve the form and hardiness of this shrub even further. I recommend keeping an eye on this variety and any new hybrids if you’re a fan of rhododendrons!

16. Silver-Laced Primrose

Silver-Laced Primrose

Primula x polyantha ‘Silver Lace Black’

  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
  • Bloom Time: Early spring

Primrose flowers are some of the earliest to open in the spring (part of the Latin name translates to ‘first’). They’re popular in cooler climates due to their hardiness and the various colors.

I highly recommend the silver-laced primrose if you’re specifically interested in a black-and-white variety. These flowers are black with contrasting white borders and cheery yellow centres. 

17. White Batflower

White Batflower

Tacca integrifolia

  • Hardiness Zones: 10 to 11
  • Bloom Time: Spring to fall

The natural world sometimes likes to surprise us with a plant that is truly unique, and the batflower is a perfect example. 

The white batflower has white, wing-like bracts that frame a near-black flower. The flower is further decorated with long, trailing ‘whiskers’ protruding from its center. 

These stunning flowers are often mistaken for a type of orchid (admittedly, they require very similar growing conditions) but belong to the yam family.

18. Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem

Ornithogalum dubium

  • Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11
  • Bloom Time: Early spring

The Star of Bethlehem is a perennial bulb most famous for its clusters of bright orange flowers. However, I’m including it on this list because there are also several varieties of white flowers!

Similar to Amaryllis, the Star of Bethlehem is most commonly sold as a potted forced bulb during the winter months. It is a popular gift during the holidays. In the right climate, this plant can also be transplanted to the outdoor garden.

19. White Sunflower Tree

White Sunflower Tree

Rojasianthe superba

  • Hardiness Zones: 9 to 10
  • Bloom Time: Spring

This previously very rare evergreen shrub is now becoming more common in cultivation. You may even see white sunflower trees available at your local greenhouse in the next few years.

The white sunflower tree is native to a small mountainous area along Mexico’s southern border. Unsurprisingly, it belongs to the same family as ordinary sunflowers. 

White sunflower trees require a warm, mild climate to thrive. However, if these conditions are met, you’ll be rewarded with a towering shrub covered in black and white flowers throughout the spring months.

FAQs Growing Black Flowers

Do any plants have black flowers?

It’s impossible for a plant to produce 100% black flowers due to the way plant pigments work. However, there are countless plants with near-black flowers that are very dark shades of red, purple, or blue.

Citations

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.