11 Super Spooky Plants That Are Perfect For Your Halloween Garden

Skip the Jack-O-Lantern, and decorate with real-life creepers that will last long after the pumpkin hits the compost pile.

October 3, 2017
spanish moss on an oak tree
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Whether you're throwing the ultimate Halloween party in your cobweb covered living room, or you're just looking for some really cool carnivorous plants to show off to your neighbors, these 11 plants will help you raise up the creep-factor.

Some of these are suited for your outdoor garden, depending on your location, but almost all are usable as houseplants.

(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less—of what's in season.)

black bat flower
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Black Bat Flower

Also called Cat’s Whiskers or Devil Flower, Tacca chantrieri has the unmistakable visage of a vampire bat. Boasting impressive flowers (which can reach 12 inches) and creepy “whiskers” (that can reach 2 feet!), it’s a conversation starter for sure. Related to the yam family, this perennial hails from rainforests of Yunnan province in China and adapts well to indoor growing, provided adequate humidity.

Related: Here's Why You Should Stop Pruning Your Trees In The Fall

pitcher plant
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Pitcher Plants

Good thing this carnivorous beauty is satisfied with the insects that get trapped in its elegant long throat—we may swoon but are (fortunately) immune to Sarracenia’s lethal charms. Insects? Not so lucky. Drawn to colorful leaf tips that mimic flowers, and soon drunk on the sugary nectar that gathers there, bugs have just a matter of time before they tumble to their demise. Sarracenia enjoys a meal of decaying critter parts absorbed right through its leaves. So evil—it’s brilliant. 

Pitcher plants can grow outside in full sun, except in the coldest climates. Indoors, give them plenty of bright light.

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Venus flytrap
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Venus Flytrap

The most infamous of the insectivorous (carnivorous) plants, Dionaea muscipula does little to lure its pray. Its large, round leaves simply provide a welcome landing pad. But the short hairs that cover the leaves are activated by pressure, causing them to snap shut, trapping the hapless bug where it will slowly be decimated by the plant’s digestive enzymes. 

Although they’re common curios in garden shops, in order for your plant to not just stay alive but thrive, this Carolina swamp country native will need conditions that mimic their natural humid, sunny, boggy habitat.

Related: 4 Ways To Banish Fruit Flies For Good

sundew
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Sundew

They’re just too bad to ignore: The last of our carnivorous picks its prey with sweet-smelling “dew” (a lethal digestive enzyme) that covers its fuzzy stems to trap and eventually dissolve the unlucky visitor. 

Sundews need bright light, moist soil, some humidity, and temperatures of at least 40 degrees. A window that gets four or more hours of direct sunlight and bright filtered sun during the rest of day is ideal.

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dyckia
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Dyckia

If it were possible to summon a kraken in your backyard, this is probably what would show up. With its shark-like “teeth,” this spiny bromeliad makes a fierce impression. Like the related yucca plant, Dyckia likes arid, frost-free environments with mild temps and minimal water. But they will thrive indoors, as long as they have a planter large enough to host its extensive root system.

Related: 4 Ways To Propagate Any Houseplant And Create A Gorgeous Indoor Jungle

 
 
Buddha's hand
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Buddha’s Hand

This edible fruit’s fragrance and rind are a pure treat. It has minimal flesh, but the rind and pith, which aren’t bitter, are fully usable. Candy the former like orange peel, or use it fresh grated as seasoning or as an infusion to sugar, salt, or liquor. Buddha’s Hand cocktails, anyone?

Buddha’s Hand will do well in a large pot indoors year-round, or outdoors when temps are above freezing. Keep in a location that gets full sun for at least half the day, and during winter, place in a well-lit room.

Spanish Moss
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Spanish Moss

There’s something downright unnerving about the dry tangled mess that is Spanish moss. Like all air plants, this super-adaptive bromide absorbs all the moisture and nutrients it needs through its leaves, right out of thin air. This makes them ideal houseplants—if you want your home to look like something out of an Anne Rice novel.

Make sure your moss gets plenty of bright (but not direct in summer) light—right by an east or west-facing window is ideal. Keep temps around 80 degrees in spring, summer, and fall but reduce to about 60 degrees in winter to encourage rest.

If you happen to be out at night and find some Spanish moss growing on a large oak tree right next to a cemetery... run the other way. That's creepy.

japanese blood grass
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Japanese Blood Grass

No, the grass didn't just come alive and kill some unlucky neighborhood cat... but it sure looks like it just finished a gruesome meal. The tips of this ornamental grass turn bright red in autumn, creating an eerie, bloody effect. Considered an invasive plant in the Northwest, be sure to grow it in a pot. It takes full sun to part shade and regular water.

Related: 15 Little Things You Can Do This Fall For A Gorgeous Spring Garden

 
 
cockscomb
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Cockscomb

These show-stopping annuals look like colored brains. A member of the amaranth family, each Celosia blossom is made up of tiny flowers, which will produce numerous small seeds—so these brainiacs can join the party again next year, and bring their friends. 

Cockscomb requires full sun, and moist, but not wet, soil.

Related: 13 Annual Flowers You Can Easily Grow From Seed

persian shield
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Persian Shield

This stunning foliage hails from Myanmar but has become popular in the West for its dramatic year-round presentation. Grow these Dracula-ian purple leaves in bright indirect light, and let soil dry out a bit between watering. Repot when roots get tight.

black petunia
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Black Velvet Petunia And Black Pansies

No Halloween garden party would be complete without pots of simply wicked annuals, which should be available at your local garden center for a few more weeks.

Related: 5 Fun Alternatives To Carving Halloween Pumpkins