House & Garden magazine's Stephen Orr stopped by The Early Show a couple of years ago to demonstrate some unusual but beautiful plants perfect the season.
Most people decorating for Halloween plop the predictable orange pumpkin on their porch. Orr has an alternative - gourds. But the gourds he recommends are two feet long. The gourds are covered with warts, they're twisted, they're skinny, they're squat and they have names like Caveman's Club, the Goose Gourd, the Bottle Gourd and Autumn Wings Gourds.
Gourds are from the same family as pumpkins and squash, but they are mostly inedible. Orr says they are very easy to grow and look great arranged in groups on a table, or on their own.
Orr says because the gourds are unusual, they don't need a fancy bowl or anything else to make them look decorative. He also says making a gourd tree is another option for a Halloween garden. Simply wedged small gourds and white pumpkins into the gnarled fingers of an old branch. You can hang gourds from a more traditional looking tree, too.
There's no better time of year than Halloween to talk about carnivorous plants! Carnivorous plants tend to grow in areas with poor and infertile soil, so they've developed the ability to trap and extract the nutrients they need from insects.
Most people are familiar with the Venus Fly Trap, but carnivorous plants also chomp on moths, gnats and ants. They attract the insects in different ways. Orr says the sundew is covered in a sticky sap that snares passing insects. Others, like the Venus Fly Trap, close up when trigger hairs inside their traps are activated.
Orr says carnivorous plants can be grown both inside and outside. The outdoor plants are constantly eating. Indoor plants feed about once a month. Orr warns not to overfeed carnivorous plants and not to give them people food such as hamburger since both of these things will cause the plant to rot or make them moldy.
If you plan to grow a carnivorous plant indoors, you may consider placing it inside a terrarium - a tall glass container or an aquarium. Put a thin layer of soil on the bottom of the container, set the plant inside and surround it with moss. You don't need a lid of any sorts. This environment promotes humidity, which the plants love.
Orr says black flowers displayed in beakers and glass cylinders are also a nice addition to a Halloween home. Orr explains the rare flowers aren't a true black; they tend to be a deep maroon like the cala lilies.
Orr says the blackest blooms he's seen is the bat flower.