Ipomoea ‘Blackie’

Blackie00For October decor, Ipomoea vines are not normally at the top of our list but there is one cultivar that should be: ‘Blackie’. Very dark purple, nearly black leaves intensify under the sun; it has five deeply cut fingers and does a great job of draping, spilling and covering. We have always felt that foliage color delivers great value because it’s dependable—the color is always there, and ‘Blackie’ is no exception.


‘Blackie’ will grow up only about 10-inches above the ground but it will spread, trail and drape somewhere around five or six feet. Space plants about 18 to 24 inches apart, so that the vines have a chance to fill in and knit together. Be sure to place it in full sun to provide energy for the leaves to grow—partial shade won’t really fill up its tank.


When combining ‘Blackie’ with other plants, choose ones that can stand their own ground by getting tall or filling out. ‘Blackie’ is an energetic grower, the Boston terrier of the plant world, so it will need room to run around. Often it is combined with other colors of Ipomoea, like Limelight, since the varieties perform well together.


Team ‘Blackie’ up with large orange marigolds for some spirited window boxes, or plant it out in the garden bed to create a dark, spooky cemetery with tombstone garden ornaments. Along the border, it will snake its way around and into fences of almost any kind. Use it in hanging baskets to form a black kettle you can fill with reds, golds and yellows to fire up the holiday decor.


In fact, ‘Blackie’ provides such a classic look that it is a staple of civic landscaping this time of year. It fills in big city planters very nicely, and makes anything featured in the center look even better.

If you haven’t worked with ‘Blackie’ before, you really should. We consider it a very versatile tool for the season—capable of generating some very fun designs.