DARK AND STORMY
A handful of tall 'Hot Chocolate' callas makes for a moody bouquet. Tuck in nearly black aeonium rosettes and Colocasia 'Puckered Up', a new elephant ear, to add more dark texture.
After frost has passed, grow callas from rhizomes. Aeoniums need protection from frost. Elephant ears can grow outdoors in mild climates, and as houseplants in all regions.
Native to nutrient-poor soils, monkey cups (Nepenthes 'Miranda') have dangling pouches that capture and dissolve insects for food. "We call them 'roach motels' because insects check in, but they're never checking out," says Mark Pendleton, manager of Brookside Orchids. Pair the plant with Spanish moss, a cobwebby mass made up of tangled airplants (Tillandsio usneoicles).
Try monkey cups as houseplants; they need bright light and daily misting.
Create a surreal scene with the Homelike stems of 'Sticks on Fire' euphorbia and a container of carnivorous plants. Here, Cobra plants (Darlingtonia colifornica) arch over smaller Venus flytraps and pitcher plants. Finish off the display with Swiss cheese vine (Monstera oblique), planted in a low bowl so its leaves creep out onto the table.
All of these plants cart grow outside in mild climates or as houseplants in bright. But beware Cobra plants are fin, icky and need cool temperatures.
FEED MT., SEYMOUR
Place a pot of Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) on the table and your guests won't be the only ones enjoying dinner. When the plant's trigger hairs inside are touched, its elegant eyelashes turn into teeth that snap shut--even emitting a slight electrical current as they close.
Venus flytraps can grow outside in frost-free climates, or as houseplants in bright light.
Crested euphorbias (back) are like something out of a monster movie. Grafted onto stems of another type of euphorbia, their crests gradually double over as they grow. Other menacing creatures: Dyckia, a dark bromeliad (center), black mondo grass, and split rocks (Pleiospilos nelii 'Royal Flush'), camouflaged as unassuming stones in black sand.
All four plants need mild temperatures and minimal water. They are happiest outside in arid, frost-free areas, but the succulents will thrive indoors too.
THE BAT CAVE
Line up a series of black bat lilies (Tacca chantrieri) on a mantel; with their winglike webbed bracts, they look ready to take flight. …