How many plants have black flowers? Not many. On closer examination, many that are claimed to have black flowers actually have blooms that are dark red or deep purple. One such plant is iris chrysographes
In late May, stems up to two and a half feet tall suddenly race up between the grey-green foliage of this iris. Overnight, buds of the deepest purple velvet unfurl to reveal their contents. At this point, I often find the stems start to taken on a drunken posture, marring the effect. Perhaps the position I have chosen is not moist enough, for this is a plant that grows beside streams in the wild. The other consideration is how best to show the flowers – they will disappear into a dark background. Silver foliage would be ideal, but silver foliage plants are not overly fond of moist soils. If you can crack this conundrum, please let me know.
I have them positioned against a background of pittosporum teniufolium ‘Gold Star’, but one of the silvery leaved members of the family would have been better if I had planned the combination earlier.
The display is brief, as with many iris, but I look forward to those dark shades and pretend they are black.