This Moody Spring Plant Trend Will Actually Liven Up Your Garden
While spring florals are hardly groundbreaking, one emerging trend is adding dark, moody plants to your garden. Lowe’s has seen an increasing demand for plants with dark foliage, like Black Diamond crape myrtles and loropetalums, which have eggplant-purple leaves and pink flowers. It’s an edgier look than the typical bright greens and pastel blooms that tend to announce spring’s arrival, but don’t take it as a sure sign that Addams Family decor is on the rise.
“It’s all about personal expression,” says Lowe’s gardening expert and North Carolina store manager Gary McCoy. “We’re trying to be different, tossing out the traditional and adding a bit of personality.”
Right now, especially, the chance to mix up your garden can be a creative outlet, a way to be productive while trying new things (especially since Lowe’s and many other stores sell plants online, so you don’t have to set foot in a store).
The key to this look is juxtaposition—it shouldn’t be dark plants on every surface. “People are looking for deep purple and magenta foliage, then mixing in white petunias or vibrant green plants,” McCoy explains. “When something has dark foliage, anytime you pair it with an offsetting white or green plant, it makes the dark portion of the foliage the focal point.” It may seem counterintuitive, but since most landscaping is pretty lush and bright—especially when set against a home that’s painted in lighter tones—your eye is immediately drawn to the darker tree. Test that theory by planting a Black Diamond crape myrtle and placing a lighter-colored shrub in front of it.
Persian shield plants and dark sweet potato vines are also becoming increasingly popular, especially as people look for contrasting textures and a starker difference between colors. Basically, anything that adds depth and visual interest—and makes a home seem less cookie cutter—has been in high demand right now.
If you’re thinking about trying the trend, McCoy recommends starting with some basic prep so that your new plants can thrive once they’re planted: Remove any dead foliage from your existing plant beds, rake up leaves and check to make sure you have the right irrigation to water your new babies. (Often, the plant’s tag or online description will clue you in to how much water and sunlight it needs.)
If you live in an apartment and your gardening is limited to whatever you can fit in a ceramic pot, you don’t have to sit this trend out: McCoy recommends working in a few fiddle-leaf figs and snake plants to get that darker look (and a mix of textures). The only caution? Fiddle-leaf figs can be a bit higher maintenance, requiring three hours of sunlight a day. Snake plants, with their spiky, tentacle-like leaves, can be great for beginners. “They’re a slow-growing, low-light plant that can make any indoor area really pop,” McCoy says. So, if you hate the idea of faux plants but can’t for the life of you remember to water ’em, you’ve found your perfect match. You could pair a snake plant with a light-colored pothos or calathea (both of which also handle neglect well) and nobody will know you don’t have a green thumb.