A sunny gerbera daisy or friendly pine tree doesn’t typically strike fear into the hearts of men, but that doesn’t meant that plants can’t get spooky. Think of the typical haunted graveyard — there are plenty of skeletal trees and rattling leaves to help set the mood. But you don’t need to wait for the dead of winter (or the death of your plants) to enjoy some creepy atmosphere from your botanicals. The following plants are plenty spooky throughout most of their seasonal cycles.
Also known by the perfectly frightful common names of bat flower, cat’s whiskers, and devil’s flower, these black blooms are ready for their horror-movie close-up. With long, dangling tendrils and deep-purple, wing-like bracts, they look like a somewhat unholy combination of a lion and a bat. They share similar temperature and humidity needs with orchids, meaning you can grow them indoors with proper care.
Mammillaria elongata “crest”
Because “crests” are native to Central Mexican deserts, there are plenty of microclimates within Southern California that can easily foster these strange plants for outdoor growth. Known commonly as “brain cactus,” these creepy plants have fuzzy, undulating folds that do indeed resemble the structure of the human brain, making them perfect for the desert-dwelling mad scientist’s garden.
From the creepy, mouthlike jaws of the Venus fly trap to the otherworldly grasping tendrils of the sundew, carnivorous plants of all stripes are pretty darn creepy. Aside from the fact that they literally eat living things, these plants often have red, purple, and orange blushes on their leaves that make them perfect for a spooky gothic garden. The fact that some of these plants can move just makes them even more ghoulishly interesting.
With a distinctly Victorian common name (“honesty”), this plant seems at first glance to be something sweet thanks to its adorable purple blooms that burst forth in the spring. But by summer, this plant goes gothic with long stems of dried, silvery seed pods that resemble full moons and make a spooky rattling noise when the wind blows. Use them to add sinister beauty to floral arrangements.