What is a Goth Garden?
Today’s goth gardens draw inspiration from the dark, brooding Victorian-era literature: think heroine fleeing her secretive husband, escaping through vine-covered, crumbling walkways, only to find herself trapped in a dark, mossy family cemetery—with a freshly dug grave! (Admit it: we all love a good, spooky story, right?!)
Goth gardens let you embrace your dark side with wickedly delightful elements that look terrific all year—not just for Halloween. If you want to create a garden with a gothic flair that will make the Brontë sisters proud, make sure to consider hardscaping, layout, plants, accessories, and lighting to create the perfect goth garden.
Hardscaping for your Goth Garden
If you’ve found a shiny, new hardscaping element that fits your garden beautifully—but you’d like to make it look like it’s been in the garden for years–try yogurt!
Using a blender, mix one cup of plain yogurt with pieces of moss for about 30 seconds. Pour into a container, grab a paintbrush, and paint the yogurt/moss mixture onto walls, stones, statues…wherever you’d like to add an “aged” feel. Soon, you’ll notice a mossy covering creeping over your garden addition.
Layout of a Goth Garden
Avoid Straight Lines – Create an element of surprise when you design the layout of your goth garden. Avoid straight lines. Instead, plot twists and turns so visitors will wander and wonder what’s around the next bend.
Once you’ve created your layout and added the hardscaping elements to your goth garden, the fun really begins: it’s time to pick your plants!
Will you embrace an herbalist’s garden to create magical cures—or curses? What thick, vining plants will cover your pergolas, shading the walkways? Which dark flowers and foliage will create that slightly-sinister vibe, adding deep color and texture to your snaking paths and secret garden rooms?
Plants for Your Goth Garden
The best goth gardens provide interest throughout the seasons, so choose plants that keep your goth garden looking great—in a spooky way—throughout the year.
Plants with Dark, Nearly Black Flowers
- Sorbet® Black Delight Viola
- ‘Black Magic’ Petunia
- Crazytunia® Black Mamba Petunia
- ‘Dark and Handsome’ Hellebore
- ‘Queen of the Night’ Tulip
- Black Knight Iris Germanica
- ‘Blacknight’ Hollyhock
- Supertunia® Royal Velvet®
- Captain Beretta Calla Lily
- ‘Black Baccara’ Rose
- Fritillaria persica
- ‘Zwartkop’ Aeonium
- Dark Chocolate Baptisia
Plants with Dark Foliage
- Astilbe Dark Side of the Moon
- Coleus ‘Black Prince’
- Heuchera ‘Black Pearl’
- Canna Tropicanna® Black
- Grass Black Mondo
- Fringe Flower Sparkling Sangria™
- Ninebark Diabolo®
- Elderberry Black Lace®
- Weigela Dark Horse
- Heuchera GRANDE™ Black
- Andropogen gerardii ‘Blackhawks’ grass
- Mangave ‘Black Magic’
- Sedum ‘Back in Black’
- Cimicifuga ramose ‘Hillside Black Beauty’
- Smoke Tree Royal Purple
- Smokebush Winecraft Black®
- Sweet Potato Vine Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Jet Black™
- Purple Fountain Grass
- Diervilla Kodiak® Black
- Sweet Potato Vine Desana® Bronze
- Black Magic Elephant Ear
Nearly Black Fruit and Veggies
Goth Style Containers
A stone garden folly featuring the classic pointed arch shape common in gothic architecture makes an authentic addition to a goth garden. Add a fountain or urn to increase the dramatic appeal.
Consider, too, adding a well-worn bench nestled under a pergola dripping with wisteria. After all, you’ll want a cozy place to escape to indulge yourself with your favorite gothic novels.
Consider adding pathway lighting to create drama along the meandering walkways of the garden, enticing visitors to explore the garden after dark…if they dare!
Creating a goth garden is limited only by your imagination. And, if you’re like most readers of classic gothic literature, your imagination is limitless. Enjoy your drama-filled garden all year long.
Free Ask the Experts about Goth Gardening Webinar
April 26, 2023, at 12:00 PM
Can’t attend live? No problem! Register and you’ll receive a recording of the event.
“This post is provided as an educational/inspirational service of the National Garden Bureau and our members. Please credit and link to National Garden Bureau and author member when using all or parts of this article.”