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Spooky plants for a spooky season
The Garden Path

Spooky plants for a spooky season

by Faye Peterson 3 min. 01.10.2022
As Halloween nears, Faye Peterson picks some spooky garden companions for you
Not the synthetic stuff: Sempervivum arachnoideum offers natural cobwebs
Not the synthetic stuff: Sempervivum arachnoideum offers natural cobwebs
Photo credit: Shutterstock

No pumpkins, no problem. Find a list of some of the more original and unusual plants to grow this autumn for a year round spooky garden.

Cobweb Sempervivum Winter Succulent (Sempervivum arachnoideum)

Say bye-bye to synthetic cobwebs and plant this succulent in your garden. As its name suggests, Cobweb Sempervivum creates environmentally friendly, ‘Halloween-esque’ cobwebs that cover the leaves of its rosette structure.

Contrary to their delicate, desert-like appearance hardy succulents, such as Sempervivum, have adapted to survive freezing temperatures. The spiderweb ‘trichomes’ on these specimens work to protect the plant; stopping their leaves drying out and preventing frost forming on them in the harshest of weathers. Go on, I dare you. Add a little drama to your garden.

Common elder ‘Black Lace’ (Sambucus nigra)

Elder trees have long been associated with magic and witchcraft. This impressive specimen has dark lace like foliage that resembles a Japanese maple tree. Each year it will produce pink-tinged blossoms in summer, deep-red elderberries in autumn and crimson leaves before winter.

A good look not just with Halloween: black elder.
A good look not just with Halloween: black elder.
Shutterstock

More often grown for ornamental purposes than produce; the ripe, cooked berries and summer flowers from the Black Lace elder can be used to make jam, wine, concentrated syrups and more. Elderberries are known for their immune boosting properties, containing more vitamin C than oranges. Prune your elder in spring to maintain the health and vitality of your tree. Plant now to enjoy an ornamental and useful display in the coming year.

Colocasia ‘Black Magic’ 

Colocasia: black magic
Colocasia: black magic
Shutterstock

Also known as ‘Black Elephant Ears’ due to its loxodontic leaves. ‘Black Magic’ is a tropical native, that thrives in high temperatures and humidity. A shaded sun spot and a well-drained pot are a must to keep it happy. Its green unfolding leaves turn a deep purple colour on maturing. Get the best of both worlds by planting in a container. Container planting allows you to move plants outdoors during the warmer weather and back inside once the cooler seasons come. Pop a plant indoors for Halloween and add some black magic to your home.

Eastern Promise: inedible, but bright colours might help you with a budding winter blues
Eastern Promise: inedible, but bright colours might help you with a budding winter blues
Shutterstock

Rowan or Mountain Ash tree ‘Sorbus ‘Eastern Promise’

Hate Halloween or just tired of trick and treaters? Then rowan is the tree for you. Traditionally used to ward off witchcraft and safeguard from sorcery, this tree adds a little magic to most gardens. Sorbus ‘Eastern Promise’ is a smaller, compact version of the regular rowan tree, growing to around 5 metres in height.  With inedible white flowers and pink berries, it breaks into a flame of colour in autumn. Plant bare root trees between now and March and take comfort in the knowledge that a protector sits on your property.

Tufted Hair Grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)

Looking like Cousin IT from the Addams Family, tufted hair grass makes a great addition to any spooky garden. This grass will add height to borders or containers over winter and combines well with other plants.  Go for a variety such as Northern Lights, that grows in dense clumps of variegated colour. Grow in sun or partial shade.  Cut back old stems to the ground in Spring to encourage new growth. Allegedly so scary that it is deer- and rabbit-resistant. 

Variegated Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum’)

One for the garden of Morticia Addams. The spider plant has to be one of the easiest houseplants to grow. Trailing bright green leaves and hanging baby plants, called ‘pups’, make this easy to eternally propagate.  With summer temperatures soaring it’s now possible to pot up some ‘pups’ for use outdoors throughout this season. Mixed displays in hanging baskets and containers look impressive and offer an unusual look for the adventurous gardener. 

Autumn sees these tender plants move back indoors. Keep away from direct sunlight, and they will happily shine. Pop inside a skull’s head or pumpkin themed plant pot for Halloween. 


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