Green thumb? Check. Green leaves? Check. Green with zone envy? Often. Green flowers? Say what? I love green flowers because of that very reaction; that and chartreuse is my favorite color. Here’s a few of my favorite green flowers to put in and around your garden to evoke a reaction of your own. Or, why not try a green-themed garden?
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 2, 2008.)
*Don't forget to click on the images to go to the Plant Files entry on each plant!
‘Envy' is an interesting newer cultivar of Zinnia that you can find fairly readily in seed or plant form. The foliage is typical of most Zinnias and can get pretty leggy, but the bloom is what makes this one interesting. Smallish (for Zinnias) green, detailed blooms that open and stay pale green. By itself, 'Envy' is not overly striking, but throw it into a patch of ‘regular' Zinnias and this one could stop someone in their tracks.
Also known as Corky Passionflower, this plant can be grown as both a novelty as well as an attraction to birds and butterflies. P. suberosa is native to Texas, Hawaii and Florida, where it can sometimes be invasive. Corky Passionflower is very easy to propagate from cuttings.
P. suberosa has dainty, light green signature-Passionflower blooms which give way to small bluish-black fruits which make great treats for birds in the garden(1).
Bells of Ireland
Bells of Ireland is an obvious one when thinking of green flowers. It forms 2-3 foot spikes of pale chartreuse calyces which surround modest blooms. The striking height and calyces make it an interesting background or border plant.
Bells of Ireland are extremely easy to start from seed if you provide the cold it needs to germinate. You can direct sow these in early- to mid-Spring, depending on your location, or you can refrigerate them for 1-2 weeks before sowing.
Spurge is the blue collar, no-fuss-no-muss green flowering plant on the list. Spurge is not really known for its striking blooms, more for its unique habit and foliage. However, the blooms are a striking shade of chartreuse sometimes with crimson centers. There are many beautiful spurges to grow, including Wood Spurge, ‘Redwing,' Cushion Spurge, Waldstein's Spurge, and Irish Spurge.
Be very careful when planting euphorbias such as Spurge.
Calla lily ‘Green Goddess'
If you're sick of pale chartreuse, here's some real GREEN for you. Calla Lily ‘Green Goddess' is a vigorous plant that produces flowers with creamy white centers which fade to bright Kelly green. An excellent cut flower, these blooms last for several weeks on or off the plant. As with most Callas, this one needs consistent moisture and partial to full sun (2).
Nepal Lily (Lilium nepalense)
I'll include Nepal Lily because of its striking beauty. If you can find one to grow and then provide it with its particular growing conditions, you will surely love the interesting plant. However, good luck.
This rare species lily hails from the Himalayas and requires moist, well drained, acid soil in partial shade in a cool, sheltered spot (3). The beautiful down-facing bloom is mahogany colored in the center which changes to limey-green toward the outside as the petals turn upward(4).
Hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius)
This beauty, also known as Corsican Rose, blooms large heads of pale green, dainty flowers in late winter and early spring. Green blooms just when you need them! As most Hellebores, this one needs ample moisture and partial to full shade. The foliage is beautiful as well when the plant is not blooming.
Iris ‘Olive Garden'
If you love irises and the unusual, ‘Olive Garden' should be on your want list. This Standard Dwarf Bearded blooms pale yellow-green standard and falls with a bright whitish-blue beard very early in the season.
This stunner produces large panicles of pale green blooms which fade to white with age or heat. This very hardy tree hydrangea can reach 8' tall by 8' wide. As fall approaches, its greenish blooms take on a rosy tinge. For a big green statement in a shady garden, this is the way to go.
Coneflower (Echinacea and Rudbeckia)
There are several beautiful coneflowers that bloom green flowers. Echinacea purpurea 'Coconut Lime' and 'Green Envy' are both hardy perennials that have interesting green tinted blooms. Rudbeckia occidentalis 'Green Wizard' has an extremely dark center with small bright green petals.
Mind you, there are plenty of other green flowering plants out there such as orchids, spider chrysanthemums, and pitcher plants, but I wanted to focus this article on plants that some of us could actually get our hands on and grow.
I garden in beautiful Colorado Springs, half a mile from Garden of the Gods. Since we bought our first house two years ago, I have been busy revamping my 1/4 acre of ignored decomposed granite.
My garden passions include water gardening, vines, super-hardy perennials, and native xerics. By day, I am a high school ceramics teacher as well as a ceramicist and painter.