Just as gardeners have a fascination with blue flowers so they do with black flowers. I think that the most popular tulip of all is ‘Queen of Night’, the most commonly available black tulip. A few years ago we had the first black petunia and this year I tried an updated version, ‘Black Mamba’ which is one of the Crazytunia varieties produced by the German breeders Westhoff. The Crazytunia series is a rather disparate lot but what makes them a series is that they are all unusually coloured and include stripes as well a pastel shades. ‘Black Mamba’ is better than its predecessors because it does not produce pale stripes under stress conditions. I have to say that the flower shape is better too and the plants are compact and flower freely. As might be expected, the flowers dissolve in wet weather and I have found that wet weather and overcrowding can cause dieback of the plants. Air and sun around the plants is essential.
‘Black Mamba’ is an interesting and attractive addition to containers in sun. My only worry about the plant, which is the same as with the earlier black petunias, is how to use it to best advantage. It is a tricky colour to associate with other plants. Here I combined it with the pelargonium ‘Lord Bute’ which is usually thought to be dark or almost black but ‘Black Mamba’ makes it look almost wishy washy. I think the best option is with white flowers or silver foliage.
Geoff’s rating 6/10
Garden rating 7/10