I’ve been fascinated with the plant world for over 30 years, and love sharing my findings with you all. Now, we all know how popular black flowers are, but how about BROWN! Does this colour exist in the flower world? The answer is YES, and it’s a lot more appealing than you might imagine!
Aristlochia littoralis (Calico Flower)
There’s no disputing the brown of this flower! The colour and texture of this floppy flower is said to resemble rotting meat which, when coupled with an unpleasant fragrance, attracts all-important pollinating flies. A tropical climber, native to South America, but could grow happily in a conservatory in chillier climates.
Rudbeckia ‘Sahara Mixed’
The tones and colours in the Rudbeckia family just scream ‘harvest festival’, and the crisp brown of the petals could not be more autumnal! Rudbeckia have developed a lot in breeding over the last few years, and they make a solid plant for summer bedding. There’s even a rumour going around that the plants will flower for a second year if left in the ground with some mulch protection.
Tulip ‘Brown Sugar’
One of my personal favourite Tulips, and I’m always banging on about it too. The petals are the same colour as crushed brown sugar, and what do you know, they smell of brown sugar too! A bold statement Tulip, and you can have some fun designing with it. Be brave!
Rafflesia arnoldii (Corpse Flower)
This intriguing flower is one of nature’s hitch-hikers! Rafflesia is a parasitic plant, meaning it lives off other plants. It’s the official state flower of Indonesia, and can boast the claim of ‘largest flower in the world’, with ONE METRE wide blooms. They are brown, and again, stink to high heaven, all so they can get themselves pollinated!
Digitalis parviflora (Foxglove)
A rather aristocratic form of the Foxglove, with teeny-tiny, chocolate brown flowers! What a cutie. As easy to grow as any Foxglove, this cocoa form will have the birds and bees flocking to its flower spikes.
Apios americana (American Groundnut)
The luscious brown flowers of this plant are of note when it comes to brown blooms, but they become quite irrelevant when you realise there’s something more exciting and brown beneath the soil. The tubers of Apios americana are edible, and have 3 times as much protein as a potato, with a somewhat nutty flavour! However, Apios is still regarded as an ‘undomesticated crop’. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely garden plant, vining up to 6 metres.
A sneaky pic, direct from a breeding project. This is a beautiful burnished bronze, zebra print Viola, which has no name as yet. I love the metallic glow of this diminutive beauty. Violas are a superb cool season plant, guaranteed to jazz up your winter window boxes!
One for the sweet-toothed. This Euphorbia is quite an imposing plant for the border, reaching a metre or so high, and the same across. During the height of summer, panicles of brownish flowers become sticky with honey-fragranced nectar. Oh yum!
Phlox ‘Creme Brulee’
Another one to make you salivate, this is the ‘Creme Brulee’ mixture of annual Phlox. Burnt sugar tones blended with thick cream is such an awesome combo. It’s an easy annual to grow too. Scatter the seed straight onto the soil and Bob’s your uncle, Janet’s your Phlox, or something like that!
Typha angustifolia (Lesser Bulrush)
Wind-dispersed seeds mean that reeds can be a familiar sight in wetland areas, and their dominant growth habit can often mean it’s a fight for survival with other natives. They have that brown accent we are looking for though, thanks to the large population of tiny female flowers that make up that unmistakable, spongey brown column.
Do you know of any other brown flowers? If so, leave a comment below, or tag me on Instagram with #PlantGeeksRule
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.