From Black Bats to Witches Hats – Spooky Plants for Halloween!
By Laurelynn Martin
The end of October ushers in Halloween, and all kinds of spooky things come to mind – from witches and skeletons to bats and mummies. At Logee’s, we have rare and unusual plants to accompany these frightful images, as well as a few that can bring the “trick or treat” theme to life this season. Dare to take a look for yourself and see what you think…
Blue Witches Hat (Pycnostachys urticifolia) is a plant whose cobalt-blue flowers open from the bottom upward and give the appearance of witches’ hats with wide brims growing on the branching tips of this South African shrub. The large, 4” flowers bloom from fall to spring and it’s a reliable bloomer the first year. The green, glossy, heart-shaped foliage gives a pleasing look to this remarkable plant.
We think of skeletons when we look at Cholla Tillandsia. The cholla is the dried interior of a cactus with holes that resemble a wooden skeleton. It makes a wonderful Halloween decoration with the colorful crown of the red Abdita Tillandsia growing on top of the decorative green moss. To keep the tillandsia healthy, mist once or twice a week.
Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri) blooms around Halloween and the unusual black flowers look like giant bats with long cat whiskers that are suspended in mid-air above the broad, shiny leaves. Black Bat Flower is native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. Grow in partial sun or filtered light as these are understory plants and do not like direct sunlight much like bats themselves. Be sure to grow in a well-aerated soil mix and a clay pot to keep the roots healthy.
The Resurrection Fern (Selaginella lepidophylla) is a plant that comes back from the dead like mummies. If forgotten about, it shrivels up, turns brown in color and looks dead but as soon as it is given water, it sprouts back to life within a couple of hours and becomes a living green fern. Native from Texas to El Salvador, the Resurrection Fern is a fascinating natural wonder and can be kept in its brown, dormant state for years. If kept watered, it continues to grow and can become a large specimen. This fern is a great introduction to the wonder of plants and nature for our youngest gardeners.
Living Stones (Lithops species) is another plant that tricks the gardener. When viewed, it looks like pebbles sitting in a pot, but upon closer inspection you can see that they are living plants with fleshy, colorful tops. The trick to keeping Living Stones looking like pebbles is to make sure these South African natives have plenty of sunshine and limit the water to once or twice a month. This easy-to-grow plant is perfect for the beginning gardener.
The plant kingdom may have played a bigger role in the trick or treat season of Halloween with its sometimes bizarre, yet beautiful, plants that it has to offer. Thank you for visiting. If you’re not too spooked, be sure to request your free Logee’s catalog. You can learn more about the rare plants mentioned in this article below. Happy Halloween!