(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 31, 2011. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
Whether you choose plants based on their common name, their cultivar name, their color or other appearance, you can find plants appropriate for a Halloween theme garden in nearly any climate. Halloween isn't just about trick-or-treating any more; it's a night of black magic. The 'Black Magic' rose, pictured here, is a hybrid tea which according to PlantFiles, is hardy from zones 7 to 10 and is highly recommended by all the people who commented in PlantFiles. This deep red, velvety rose definitely deserves consideration in your Halloween garden.
Typically, Halloween is a night for masquerades or costume parties. To the left is the dwarf Hosta 'Masquerade', and to the right, the lovely reblooming daylily 'Halloween Party'. Both are hardy from zones 3 to 9, but of course the hosta requires deep shade and the daylily, sun.
Flesh-and-blood bats are welcome too, to devour any blood-sucking mosquitos who might try to learn to tango and crash the party! Speaking of ghosts, here is one you need in your Theme Garden. Lamium maculatum, or Spotted Dead Nettle, has a beautiful silvery cast to the leaves, especially at night. The cultivar 'Ghost' will suit your Halloween Garden perfectly. L. maculatums make a sturdy groundcover, once established, and make a great backdrop for other, showier plants. They are hardy from zones 3a to 10b and bloom in various colors, depending on cultivar, ranging from white through pinks and roses to purple. The colorations of the leaves also varies.
Caricature plant, Graptophyllum pictum, has a cultivar named 'Black Magic', and that will complete our black magic for the evening. This interesting herbaceous tropical perennial is an outdoor plant only in zones 10 and 11. However, it makes an interesting houseplant for the rest of us if its moisture needs are met, and can easily be grown from cuttings.
There are 25 other cultivars in PlantFiles named 'Black Magic', but we've had enough for now. Halloween is a lot of fun with or without it.So it's time for the purple sugar cane, the 'Black Magic Repellent Plant!' This plant comes by its unusual name, one subscriber tells me, because of the association of purple with positive energy and of sugar cane with a dark time in history. The combination of purple with sugar cane has become associated with good magic, and the sight of one planted outside a voodoo practitioner's dwelling assures that she only practices white magic. Yeah, okay, whatever. Anyway, Saccharum officinarum thrives in zones 9 to 11 and even does well as a container plant, although member comments in PlantFiles indicate that purple sugar cane is a source of sugar, for some.
The other event that Halloween is associated with is, of course, the neighborhood children dressing up as princesses or Spidermans and going trick-or-treating throughout the neighborhood.
This Aloe to the left is the cultivar 'Candy Corn', the traditional Halloween treat. You'd never know it to look at it. Grow it indoors in cooler climates or outdoors in sones 9 and up.
I prefer the 'Candy Corn Vine' on the right, Cuphea micropetala! This tender perennial also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, and is happiest in zones 8 to 11. At least this one looks a little like the candy it's supposed to be representing.
Whether they bring home candy corn or not, you can bet they'll have a mountain of candy! But as you tuck them in tonight, please remind them that it was all 'Make-Believe Magic', there was no real black magic or witches or ghosts! I hope you enjoyed your 'Halloween Party'!
Of course, with so many beautiful images, a lot of talented people are responsible. Thank you so much to members bleek, amnesiadream, Calif_Sue, Can2grow, DaylilySLP, palmbob, puddytat, threegardeners and Xenomorf!