(Image credit: tylim)

A black leaf plant is truly unique, but there are enough varieties to choose from that you can build a dark indoor garden. Black indoor plants are great for creating a moody atmosphere and contrast with lighter-colored foliage. 

About Black Foliage Plants

Of course, most plants are green because of the chlorophyll that allows them to photosynthesize. Plants with black leaves aren’t truly black and still have chlorophyll. 

Why some plants develop this coloration isn’t well understood, but it might confer some kind of protection in certain environments. For plant enthusiasts, what matters is the unique look of these black-leaved varieties. 

Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Dowon’

This variety of Z. zamiifolia is a striking black beauty that is also known as the black 'Raven' ZZ plant. It’s a tropical succulent with bright green early foliage that turns deep purple-black as it ages. 

'Raven' ZZ makes a good houseplant, even with lowlight conditions. It can grow up to 3 feet (1 m.) tall and wide and does well in containers. You can leave it outdoors until temperatures get below 60 degrees F. (16 C.). 

Black Elephant Ear Plants

Elephant ear is a large group of tropical perennials with large leaves. They are popular houseplants because of the striking foliage, but they are also an edible food staple in tropical regions. 

A few varieties have black foliage. ‘Black Coral’ has very large, glossy, corrugated leaves. The leaves on ‘Black Magic’ are deep purple-black with a dusty texture. ‘Jet Black’ leaves are black with lime green veins. 

Abidjan Rubber Plant

This is a cultivar of rubber plant, a type of ficus that grows in tropical Asia. It can grow up to 6 feet (2 m.) and makes a good houseplant with filtered sunlight and plenty of humidity. 

The fleshy leaves of the ‘Abidjan’ cultivar are glossy and deep greenish black. The new foliage emerges from a bright red sheath that contrasts against the dark leaves. 

Black Prince Echeveria

Echeveria is a group of succulents that are easy to grow as houseplants. ‘Black Prince’ is a small variety that only grows up to 10 inches (25 cm.) and often stays even smaller. The deep reddish black leaves make a nice contrast with pastel, dusty colored succulents. 

Black Cardinal Philodendron

Philodendron is a classic houseplant, a large group of tropical plants that tolerates neglect and other indoor conditions. It comes in many different varieties, including the dark ‘Black Cardinal.’

The leaves of ‘Black Cardinal’ begin reddish in color and turn much darker, nearly black as they age. Each leaf can grow as long as 10 inches (25 cm.).

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.