An avid gardener for over 40 years, Dolores has landscaped for private clients and maintained one client's small orchid collection.
Green flowers are unusual in a world where people look for more traditional colors. But green blooms can add a unique touch to a flower garden and are often featured in floral designs.
Some green blooms seen in florist's arrangements are dyed. Standard roses, for example, that appear on St. Patrick's Day or for novelty arrangements are most likely white roses that have been artificially colored. Some hard to grow green flowers are raised by experts in greenhouses for commercial purposes.
There are some green flowers that are easy to grow for the average gardener. Green zinnias and Bells-of-Ireland are annuals that look beautiful in a cottage garden or for cut flowers. In an all-white garden, some green flowers add a change where most green appears only in foliage.
In general, pollinators like bees and butterflies are attracted by bright colors. That is why we usually see blooms in shades of red, pink, yellow, and orange. A few oddballs are pollinated by flies. The smell of a flower that attracts flies may be unpleasant to people as flies are famously attracted to the odor of garbage and rotting organic matter.
Some of the green flowers presented here have been hybridized or genetically modified to produce green blooms. Many of these types are hard to grow and are produced by commercial growers. A few are not flowers at all, but large green bracts that resemble blooms.
Orchids: The Largest Group of Green Flowers
There are thousands of orchid varieties that come in many colors, patterns, and forms. The color green can be found in so many types it would be difficult to list them here. Whether small blooms that appear in sprays that make beautiful bouquets or larger flowers used for corsages, green orchids go well with white, pale pinks, or pale yellows.
Phalaenopsis or Moth orchid is a very popular orchid because it is easy to grow for commercial uses and makes a wonderful house plant.
Cymbidium orchids are the thick, waxy flowers seen in old fashioned corsages. They come in various shades of green (as well as other colors) from pale yellowish green to dark green. Cymbidium also appears in a cascading form with small flowers blooming on long pendulous spikes grown in a hanging basket.
Green Flowers That Are Easy to Grow
Here are some green flowers that you can easily grow in your garden. They will add a nice bit of color with their beautiful green hues.
Bells of Ireland
Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis) are beautiful annuals that grow 2–3 feet tall and bloom in late Summer. The green "flowers" are actually calyxes surrounding tiny white blooms. Pretty green bells open along a tall spike and add a nice, vertical element to flower arrangements.
Mix seeds in soil and refrigerate to chill before planting. Or, plant 8–10 weeks before the last frost date in early Spring. Plant shallow and keep moist until they become established. Be patient as Bells of Ireland take 3–5 weeks to germinate. They do not do well in hot, humid weather.
Deadheading will not encourage a rebloom. In the Fall, collect seeds to plant next year.
Corsican Hellebore or Helleborus corsicus is a lovely evergreen perennial that blooms in late winter. Round green cup-shaped blooms hang below three leaflets.
Hellebores are often called Lenten roses as they bloom in early spring. They do not belong to the rose family. Helleborus viridis also produces a green bloom and is easy to grow.
Plant in light shade in moist, well-drained soil. Divide rhizomes in Spring after flowering. Corsican hellebores are deer resistant and toxic. They are poisonous if eaten. Handling may cause skin irritation in sensitive people.
Clematis florida Alba plena
Clematis florida Alba plena is a 6–8-foot vine with beautiful double blooms that come in cream-colored then turn green as they mature. Flowers are 3–4 inches wide.
Plant in partial shade or full sun. Cut back dried vine to lowest bud in late winter. Clematis prefer good drainage but enjoy watering during hot summers. The vines need support and will grow nicely on fences or porch rails.
Green Gladiolus Biltmore Estates Green Star
Green Gladiolus Biltmore Estates Green Star is a lovely green flower that is easy to grow. The tall spikes are traditional favorites for adding vertical elements to flower arrangements.
Plant Gladiolus bulbs in early Spring for mid Summer blooms on tall, up to 48-inch spikes. Glads are winter hardy in US Zone 7–10. In areas with cold winters, dig up the bulb in Fall and store in a cool, dry place. (I am sorry that there is no picture for this one)
Zinnias are charming, old fashioned annuals that are easily grown from seed. Plant directly into the garden soil after the threat of frost has passed in Spring. Plant shallow in full sun, in well-drained soil. Water daily until the plant becomes established. Deadhead spent flowers for repeat blooms. In Fall, pull off some seeds to save for the next year. Do not place zinnias in crowded conditions as they may suffer from powdery mildew. Best grown in US Zone 3–10.
Envy is an heirloom zinnia with double blooms. Giant Lime, Jade, and Tequila Lime are other large green zinnias with double blooms.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit or Arisaema triphyllum is a low growing woodland plant that is native to the US. The flowering part of the pant is the spike (spandix) that grows in the center of a spathe that wraps around it. The spathe comes in a pale green then matures to a vivid green with purple or brown vertical stripes. The 2-foot tall plant blooms in Spring. Jack-in-the-Pulpit can be grown at home in a shaded area. Do not remove this plant from forests or parks but purchase in garden shops that specialize in native plants.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit is pollinated by flies.
Nicotiana langsdorfii is a 3–6 foot tall, clump-forming annual with small, bright green flowers. Tiny trumpets or tubular blooms that bell out at the end add interest to a garden in mid to late Summer. Leaves are wide and deep green.
Surface sew or start indoors in bright light as Nicotiana needs light to germinate. Keep seeds moist until the plant grows and becomes established. Plant in rich, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Nicotiana is fragrant and attracts hummingbirds.
Green accents occur in several varieties of tulips. Tulip Viridiflora is a white tulip with green shading that blooms late in Spring. Tulip formosa is a yellow flower with a greenish tint. Tulip Chinatown is light pink with green accents. Tulip Greenland is bright pink with green accents. Tulip Spring green is white with vertical green strips.
Plant tulip bulbs in Fall with the pointy side up. Sprinkle bone mean in the hole before covering with soil.
Green Flowering Shrubs
Here are some green shrubs that you can add to your garden. These varieties of shrubs are also flowering, making them a welcome addition to your garden.
Hydrangea Mini Limelight
Hydrangea paniculata also known as Little Lime or Mini Limelight are hardy, deciduous shrubs that flower in Summer and retain blossoms into Fall. The light green flowers turn pink in Fall.
Hydrangea paniculata Limelight is larger and features 6–12-inch bloom clusters. Remove lower branches to produce a tree-like form. The flower clusters of Hydrangea paniculata are more cone shaped than the rounded mop head type hydrangea. Cut flowers are long-lasting and dry well. The lime green flowers of Limelight turn white with age.
Allow hydrangea paniculata some afternoon shade. Water in hot weather. Plant in US Zone 3–8.
Mediterranean Spurge or Euphorbia characias is a shrubby non-succulent euphorbia that grows up to 3 feet tall with a 3-foot spread in US Zone 7–11. The stems have a purple tinge with bluish green leaves. Leaves are 4–6 inches long and densely packed. There are several green flowering cultivars of this tough, drought-resistant plant. Tiny flowers grow inside bright green bracts Spring through Summer.
Mediterranean spurge can be invasive in some areas. Cut flowers before they go to seed to avoid unwanted spread. Grow in full sun with some afternoon shade. This plant produces a toxic sap that can cause skin irritation if touched so wear gloves.
Green Flowering Herbs
Here are some tasty green herbs that you can grow in your garden.
Angelica (Angelica Archangelica litoralis) or Wild Celery is an herb native to Northern Europe. A biannual, meaning that it flowers in the second year, Angelica dies after flowering. It grows up to 6 feet tall. Angelica prefers cool, moist soil. Tiny light-green blooms appear on large umbells. Angelica has medicinal and industrial uses and has been used to produce liquors. Wild celery is beautiful in a cottage or wildflower garden.
Lady's Mantle or Alchemilla vulgaris is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial. It is a low-growing plant with pretty, scalloped, grayish green leaves. Flowers appear in small clusters from late Spring through Summer. Grows well in US Zone 3–8.
This low growing plant does well in rock gardens or in well-drained neutral to alkaline soil. Though a slow grower, it may be invasive in some areas. Pluck off faded blooms to avoid spread. Lady's Mantle has herbal and medicinal uses.
The name "alchemilla" means "little magical one," perhaps for its ability to hold dew drops, adding a sparkle to the garden in the early morning.
Most green roses that appear at the florist's shop have been dyed. You can do this yourself by placing a white rose in water with green floor color. For optimum results, cut the stem on the diagonal. Color should appear in 24–48 hours. But there are a few varieties that appear in greenish hues:
- Mint Julip is a hybrid tea with a yellow bloom edged in green.
- Green Ice is a miniature rose that reaches 1–2 feet tall. Apricot buds open to a soft, shaded green.
- Green Romantica is a hybrid tea rose that is difficult to grow, most often raised by experts or by commercial growers in a greenhouse.
- Rosa chinensis viridiflora is an unusual member of the rose family producing what appears to be small, spikey roses. A small bloom is surrounded by bluish-green specials that take on a bronze tone after opening.
Chrysanthemums are popular Fall flowers that make for long-lasting cut flowers. Most green chrysanthemums are grown commercially.
- Feeling Green is a button mum with tightly packed petals. This perennial is bushy and low maintenance. It produces small, apple green blooms. Grow in full sun in well-drained soil. Pinch back buds throughout the summer. (If buds open in hot weather they will not last)
- Apple Crisp Green is white with a green center
- Anastasia Green is grown commercially. It is hard to find and more finicky than the usual homegrown chrysanthemum.
Rare Green Flowers
These wonderful and rare green flowers will make for a great addition to your garden.
Abutilon Sandwiccence or India Mallow is an increasingly rare shrub native to Hawaii. This beautiful plant is on the endangered list, threatened by habitat loss due to grazing, building, and crowding out by invasive plants.
The shrub grows 2–10 feet tall and wide producing large, dramatic flowers similar to hibiscus. Leaves are silvery green.
Deharainia Smaragdina has no common name. Native to Central America, this leafy shrub is rare and most often seen in botanical collections. They have five-petaled flowers are surrounded by shiny leaves. Pollinated by flies, Deharaina Smaragdina attracts its pollinators with a most unpleasant odor.
Most carnations in florist shops have been dyed. You can do this at home (but probably not as well) by placing a white carnation in water with green food coloring. Make green edged white carnations by removing the flower just when the edges go green.
Prado is a natural green carnation with very light, mint green petals.
A new "carnation" is making a big noise in some circles. Dianthus barbatus Green Bell and Green Trick are not actually green flowers. These genetically modified frankenflowers resemble a ball of bright green moss on the end of a traditional carnation stem (see below).
Green Trick or Green Bell Carnation
Questions & Answers
Question: I have a plant that has three large, pointed leaves and it produces light green tulip-looking flowers on a long stem. The flowers bloom before the leaves. Do you have any ideas what kind of plant this is?
Answer: While nothing comes to mind, I must say there is an app for that! Leafsnap, Plantifier, and iPflanzen allow you to identify a plant with your smartphone! Check reviews online to see which app seems best for you. You can also contact your state agricultural extension for help.
© 2014 Dolores Monet