Green Flowers

Nicotiana langsdorffiiQuestion: What are some plants with green flowers? I want to try something unexpected this year.

Answer: There are several options in green flowers, and they can be combined to great effect with dark-leaved or variegated plants. Here are a few green-flowered plants to experiment with this spring and summer:

Zinnias: Try ‘Green Envy’ or ‘Benary’s Giant Lime’ for lush green flowers. Zinnias are annuals typically grown in full sun, but some gardeners report better color from the green selections if they are kept in part shade.

Flowering tobacco: Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ is a three-foot, bushy perennial in USDA Zones 8–10, grown as an annual elsewhere (and often self-sows). Blooms for a long time, with trumpet-shaped chartreuse flowers. Nicotiana langsdorffii (shown) has a similar size but its pale green flowers are slightly more drooping.

Bells of Ireland: The true flowers of Molucella laevis, a cottage-garden classic, are actually white; they are tiny and surrounded by the large green calyces that inspire its common name. This annual grows best in cool weather. Its seeds can be sown outdoors in early spring.

‘Limelight’ hydrangea: For something larger, plant this six- to eight-foot panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’) that has soft lime green flowers in late summer. It can also be trained to grow as a small tree. Hardy in Zones 3–8.

Coneflowers: ‘Green Envy’ has mostly light green petals; toward the center of the flower they turn pinkish red. The central cone is dark green. Perennial for Zones 4–9.

Hellebores: Among the hundreds of hybrid hellebores on the market, you’ll be able to find some green-flowered options, such as ‘Green Gambler’. Helleborus argutifolius ‘Sliver Lace’ has beautiful silver-flocked leaves and large creamy green flowers (Zones 4–9). Or look for the “stinking hellebore,” the species Helleborus foetidus, which has light green blossoms (Zones 5–9).

Image attribution: Keith Edkins. Image rights.

Get advice on arranging plant by color and more from our Garden Design articles.
Experiment with color the non-permanent way: grow annuals. Check out Annuals for Every Garden or Smart Guide: Annuals, which includes step-by-step instructions on seed sowing, transplanting and plant care.

Get the Fabulous & Unusual Annuals Collection, a bundle of five different seed packets, including bells of Ireland.

Take the easy path to garden success with Trowel & Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies & Shortcuts for the Gardener by Sharon Lovejoy.

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5 thoughts on “Green Flowers

  1. I have a purple and “green” garden. I found a green miniature rose hardy to my area(Z5). I love it. The flower starts out white/cream and as it matures it turns a light shade of green. It’s called “Green Ice”. I have only had it for one year and it became a 2ft round plant by the end of the season. This one is shade tolarant too. Here is the link to the site where I got mine! Enjoy! check it out!

  2. Green Gladiolus in varying shades. In the early 1900’s gladiolus were used much more in mixed borders than they are today which is a real shame considering all of the colours and sizes available.
    “Miss Jekyll designed about 400 gardens between 1868 and 1932 and in many she used drift plantings of Gladiolus…. It was first used in the hardy flower border at Munstead (House) in 1883 (Jekyll, 1882, 1883; Tooley, 1984a,b) where it was associated with plantings of Kniphofia, Lobelia cardinalis L. and Lychnis. In a similar flower border at Munstead Wood some years later, she used the same association with Kniphofia, together with scarlet Salvia, Geranium, Gypsophila and Phlox. This association is shown in a Country Life autochrome dating from about 1911. The first occasion on which it is known to have been used in a design commission was in the long border at Brackenbrough in 1904, and it is found again in borders designed by her at Upton Grey in 1908, Presaddfed on Angelsey in 1909, Lindisfarne in 1911, Little Aston Hall in 1914, Little Cumbrae Island in the Firth of Clyde in 1916, Hascombe Court in 1922, Gledstone in 1926, and Blagdon in 1929 where 72 corms were used in drift plantings. Other garden artists also used it in their designs; Margaret Waterfield (1908) planted it with white roses. This association had been described earlier in The Garden: ‘by planting large beds with Dwarf Roses, intermixed with such bright kinds of Gladioli as G. brenchleyensis a magnificent effect may be produced, as they blend well with the Roses, and the two make a grand show.’ The distinguished Scottish horticulturist Mr. Samuel Arnott wrote in 1909, ‘Gladiolus brenchleyensis is the finest scarlet one for bedding, and should be largely used, either alone or in combination with white flowers, such as Galtonia candicans or Anemone japonica alba.” – – Tooley, M. (2010)

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