A symbol of royalty and elegance, purple is a favorite flower color that does a great job in enhancing a garden’s palette. When Pantone declared ultra violet, which is another variation of purple, as the Color of the Year in 2018, it described the shade as one that exhibits originality and ingenuity. While it may not be a popular choice when deciding on interior design or picking a wardrobe outfit, the color plays a key role in landscaping and gardening. It can anchor bright colors and is perfect for adding contrasting elements to your garden setting. Hence, there is no wonder why this color is one of the first things that come to mind when deciding on your garden’s color combinations.
There is a wide range of shades in which flowers bloom, but the mixture of blue and red is often associated with a calm ambiance and is used to create a relaxing mood. Ones where blue is more dominant often creates a soothing effect and promotes spiritual calmness. In contrast, flowers leaning toward red are seen as more energetic. These different combinations yield an array of shade variations that are sure to add depth to your outdoor space. From dark violet, to soft, to lavender, the choices are far and wide depending on the shade and tone.
In this article, we identified some of the most popular options and categorized them based on their shape, shade, height, growing cycle and other characteristics.
What are Perennials?
Perennial plants live on for multiple growing cycles. Its roots often die or go dormant during winter and regrow in the succeeding spring. It typically lasts more than two years and is easier to maintain as you only need to plant it once.
One popular purple perennial is Bears Breech, which is characterized by its tall flowers and glossy leaves. This perennial is sometimes grouped with the so-called architectural plants as it is widely used as a motif. Its blooms last throughout summer and come in faded purple shade. But aside from its exquisite blooms, this plant is prized for its large, lobed leaves, which were widely used in ancient art, particularly in the Greek and Roman period. Bears Breech does not require frequent watering and is not vulnerable to disease issues nor pets, though snails may visit from time to time to feast on the foliage.
Native to North America, Blazing Star or Gayfeather is another type of perennial that exudes an ornamental allure. It features tall stalks of lavender flowers that gracefully sway with the wind during summer. It attracts butterflies and bees, and sometimes deers, too! Resembling Blazing Star’s spiky blooms, Veronicas are more blue than purple, creating an extra dimension to your landscape. These carefree perennials grow in different soil types and thrive in full sun. There are various types of Veronicas depending on their size and form. The small ones are ideal in containers or for rock gardens while the taller variety looks best in borders along with other flowers.
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A favorite among pollinators, Lalla Aster makes for a perfect front yard plant, thanks to its tiny, light-purple flowers. This low-growing option produces ray-shaped blooms that thrive in full sunlight. Blooming between April and July, Creeping Speedwell is another low-growing plant ideal as a ground cover. It also comes very handy in landscaping. It has four-petaled tiny flowers and kidney-shaped leaves, and prefers to grow in neutral soil with consistent moisture.
Even if you are new to gardening, Lavender will surely be no stranger. This familiar purple perennial is very popular for its lovely fragrance, making it a common ingredient to many household items. While lavender is best known for its deep blue-purple color, its other varieties come in white and light pink. If you are living in a cooler climate, English Lavender hybrids are the most recommended.
If you are into flower arrangements, then you may be familiar with Verbena, one with small blooms that come out in the summer. Fresh Verbena are used to add depth to a garden, though they also look great when dried. This requires well-drained soil and full sun. Lilac is another excellent example of small flowers. This one is widely used for bouquets and is commonly related to Easter as it is known as a symbol of rebirth. Aside from its pretty appearance, Lilacs are cultivated for its scent.
Measuring 2 to 5 feet on average, Garden Phlox is a great choice if you are looking to add a variety of tall purple perennials to your garden. These bloom between mid-summer and autumn, and lure hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. They are resistant to mildew and are a favorite for landscapes as they are relatively easy to maintain. Another low-maintenance but equally beautiful tall perennial is German Bearded Iris. While this one comes in different shades, it is most popular for its hue. It enjoys some shade from time to time, but makes a full bloom when under full to partial sunlight.
Also known as Wolf’s Bane, Monkshood is a tall perennial that blooms through autumn, providing a nice lilac shade for the fall foliage. Unlike Garden Phlox and German Bearded Iris, Monkshood is more difficult to grow and maintain, and requires extra care. It grows in moist and well-drained soil, but too much water could drown its roots. While Monkshood makes for a perfect background plant, its owners must plant it away from pets or children as it is highly poisonous.
Allium is a nice cut ornamental that can be used for arrangements and dried bouquets. This perennial may not be as popular as its peers, but it is equally gorgeous with its bulb-shaped blooms. This keeps deers, rabbits and chipmunks at bay. It enjoys full sun and requires well-drained soil. Another tall one is Vervain, which is used in herbal medicine. It is characterized by its jagged leaves and five-petaled flowers that bloom between mid-summer and early fall. This one can reach up to 5 feet in height, thrives in moist soil and enjoys full sun. Herbal medicine practitioners use Vervain for its purported pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. But for aesthetics, this is a favorite in landscaped gardens.
Aside from plants, trees that bear purple flowers can also add a nice contrast of colors to your yard. One excellent choice is the Bloomerang Lilac tree, which is known for its jasmine-like fragrance. This tree grows up to a maximum height of six feet, while its flowers bloom twice each year. You can plant this tree beside your porch, in front of your yard or near your patio.
Known for its resilience, the Royal Empress is a fast-growing tree that provides a generous amount of shade, thanks to its huge leaves and high-branched canopy. It produces a sweet scent and offers gorgeous lavender flowers in spring. The Royal Empress requires partial to full sunlight and grows best using organic fertilizer that has high nitrogen content. With a height that peaks at 40 to 50 feet, this tree is converted into a hardwood by fine furniture makers in some countries using metal lathes, portable sawmills and wide belt sanders.
The Jacaranda tree is a spring-bloomer that reaches up to 40 feet in height and spreads up to 30 feet. A sea of lavender flowers cover this tree during spring, making it a nice movie-like backdrop. However, make sure not to put this tree near a pool or the driveway as its flowers tend to cover the entire ground and create a mess once they drop.
Purple and yellow flowers
Purple and yellow may not be the best color tandem, but perennials that combine these shades prove to be nothing short of attractive. One example is Dwarf Iris, which can easily be identified by its dark petals with a touch of yellow in the middle. This flowering plant is ideal in containers or at the front of borders. It blossoms in late winter through early spring, making for a lovely display on balconies or patios.
A magnet to butterflies and birds, Cosmos also have purple petals and bright yellow blooms. This daisy-like flower grows easily by scattering its seeds and remains in full bloom for months. With its long stems, Cosmos are perfect at the back of borders along with other tall flowers. Bearing a slight resemblance to Cosmos are Coneflowers, which have light petals and a yellowish head in the middle. This type is resistant to drought and is a favorite among pollinators. Pasque flower is another type of perennial with a golden yellow center. This is a native to Western Asia and central Europe, and naturally grows on moist meadows. It thrives in medium-moisture soil and full sunlight, and requires extra effort when transplanting due to its long roots. Aside from adding color to your garden, Pasque flower has other uses particularly in herbal medicine. Homeopaths recommend this one for treating cough and clogged nose. It is also believed to help treat some skin conditions including inflammation, bacterial infection and chickenpox.
Another type of perennials is one in deep lavender shade. These dark flowers easily stand out given their rich and thick shade that offers a nice contrast to your green landscape.
Also known as Ornamental Onion, Allium has round flowers that bloom in spring and summer. These bulb-shaped flowers come in a range of shades but they are more popular for their deep wine purple color. Another flower under this category is Salvia nemorosa, which is also called Perennial Salvia, Garden Sage and Violet rRot. This gorgeous plant attracts onlookers with its violet-blue flowers and dark purple stems. A native to Western Asia and some parts of Europe, this perennial is easy to propagate, requiring only little sunshine and watering.
Wild Indigo is a robust perennial that produces pea-like flowers. They naturally grow in meadows or along streams, but Wild Indigos can also be used as plant anchors and is suitable for home landscaping given its height. This low-maintenance plant has branched and deep roots, allowing it to weather drought. Its seeds need to be soaked in water for about 24 hours before planting. Attracting pests should not be a problem when cultivating Wild Indigos, which remain attractive all year round.
Adding contrast to deep-shaded, dark perennials, light flowers are warm to the eyes and offer a comfortable ambiance. Characterized by its ray-like flowers, Boltonia or False Aster is a charming perennial that blooms in late summer. A row of this flower will look excellent at the back of your garden as it grows up to 8 feet in height. Boltonias thrive in full sun, but do not mind some afternoon shade as well. If you are feeling a little bit creative, you can cut a few stems of Boltonia and place it in a ceramic or stainless steel vase and use it as a gorgeous accent for your foyer. The maker of the vase probably used one of these best plasma cutters in the process of doing their magic to the steel!
You can also consider growing Hesperis Matrionalis, or more commonly known as Sweet Rocket. This biennial option produces blooms in white and purple, and has a lovely fragrance in the evening. Gardeners often mistake Sweet Rocket for Phlox because of their physical similarities, but they can actually be distinguished by their number of petals: Sweet Rocket has four-petaled flowers while Phlox has five. This one has lance-shaped hair leaves, which some people use in salads.
If you are looking to create a meditation garden, then consider bushes with purple flowers in your landscape. Bushes are perfect additions to your outdoor space whether as decorations, additional foundations or as borders. They also add structure and character to your garden especially when maintained properly. One of the most popular shrubs is Hydrangea, which grows in well-drained and fertile soil, and thrives in partial sunlight. Color correction is possible for this plant, allowing it to transition from the purple shade to pink, depending on the soil pH and other factors.
Azaleas are also popular shrubs that look best right at your front porch. This one is nicknamed “Royal of the Gardens,” thanks to its vibrant colors that come in different shades, including lavender. They thrive in partial shade and may require extra watering when under a dry spell. If possible, keep Azaleas away from direct midday sun as its leaves tend to get burned or dry out when exposed to too much heat, possibly creating fire.
If you want to add elegance to your home garden, you will never go wrong with vines with purple flowers. While they are harder to keep, vines can add depth to your outdoor space if regularly trimmed and maintained. One example is Bougainvillea, a type of thorny ornamental vine native to countries in southern America. This vine can be grown against a fence, as a ground cover, on a trellis or even in a container! It enjoys hot weather and requires at least 6 hours under the sun for its flowers to bloom best. This vine yields flowers in different colors, but the ones in purple clearly stand out.
Also a fan of tropical climate, Passion Vine is easily recognized by its exotic-looking flowers that come in white and purple. This vine rapidly extends, and grows on fences and walls. To control its growth, make sure to prune the vines in spring. This also ensures lush foliage and fast production of flowers. Another type of purple vine to consider is Wisteria, which yields gorgeous foliage and whose flowers turn yellow when autumn comes. This needs rich soil and plenty of sunlight. It also requires regular pruning to make sure that its vines do not overtake the rest of your outdoor space. While it may be invasive, Wisteria is hard to resist with its scented blooms in lovely lavender shade.
There are different types of bellflowers but the most common are the ones in blue and purple shades. The Campanulaceae family is known among pollinators for its cup- or bell-shaped flowers. Canterbury bells, also known as Campanula medium, are a popular biennial plant that is commonly used in flower arrangements and honey-making. They enjoy cool zones and thrive in well-drained soil, and grow best in containers or borders. Similar to other varieties within the Campanulaceae family, Canterbury bells propagate easily through their seeds starting early summer or late spring.
Bellflower is another type within the Campanulaceae family that blooms in light purple shade. This type comes in varying sizes, and reaches up to 3 feet in height. Its signature bell-shaped bloom from late spring up to summer, making them perfect for cottage or rock gardens. Heliotrope is also a favorite for cottage gardens with its shrub-like lavender and oval-shaped leaves. Aside from its gorgeous clusters, this yields a lovely scent that many gardeners compare with vanilla’s smell. If you plan to grow a cutting garden, then Gladioulous is a great option. This classic perennial features tall spikes and large blooms that look great in arrangements. Thriving in full sun and well-drained soil, this can produce until early autumn. It is ideal to grow this in rows for easy harvesting.
Providing a nice contrast of its green leaves and bell-shaped blooms, Honeywort is a drought-tolerant iotuib that grows in different soil conditions and flourishes in full sun. Its leaves are thick and dominantly green with a hint of grayish tone.This self-seeding plant can be grown in containers and act as nice fillers for your ornamental borders. Another one with prominently green leaves is Anise, which blooms in spring. This option, also called Anise Hyssop, is a magnet to butterflies, beetles and bees. It can be used in herb gardens and as ornamentals.
Also a spring-blooming one, Lungwort makes for a nice ground cover. While it is a low-growing option, its stalks may reach up to 18 inches. This stands out with its lung-shaped leaves, thereby giving it its name. Lungwort is typically grown in pots during spring, and thrives in partial to full shade and moist soil.
While perennials grow back every spring, some only last for a single growing season. These are called annual plants, whose leaves, stems and roots die out after one cycle. There are many examples of annuals with a pop that can be very useful in your landscape.
If you cannot afford to spend much of your time tending your garden, then you may consider growing Vinca flowers. These low-maintenance blooms tolerate drought and prefer full sun, and easily grow wherever you plant them. Its flowers have five soft-lavender petals with a yellow or white center and look nice in containers or hanging baskets. You can also use Vinca for rock gardens or borders, and add an instant color to your outdoor space.
Another example in this category is Annual Purple Larkspur, a tall and elegant plant with spiky blooms. This thrives in moist soil and may produce yearly through self-seeding. It grows between spring and summer, and grows up to 4 feet.
Lobelia is also an ideal option to grow if you are looking for low-maintenance blooms. It produces from summer until the first frost, and prefers rich soil. Its blooms feature a violet-blue shade, though other varieties in white and pinkish red can be found, too. There are many types of Lobelias and not all of them can be cultivated in a home garden set-up. As the most common variety, violet-blue Lobelias are often used in borders or as ground covers.
As the name implies, biennials need two years to finish their life cycle. Ones in this category develop their leaves and strengthen their roots during the first season. Then, they stay dormant for a few months, particularly during the colder season, before showing off their lovely blooms in the second year. After this, they die.
There are many biennial options to choose from depending on your purpose. One favorite choice is Foxglove or Digitalis, a strikingly tall plant with bell-shaped flowers. Other types of Foxgloves are considered perennials but most grow and die within the two-year window of biennial plants. Its stems may grow as high as 6 feet, making this a nice background against your flower beds. Aside from its height, one noticeable feature of Foxgloves is its bell- or trumpet-shaped flowers, which come in purple, pink, red or yellow, and grow in clusters. This prefers full sun, although it does not mind a little bit of shade as well.
Also known as the Money Plant, Honesty is another biennial featuring charming blooms. It earned its nickname due to its sought-after seed pods, which are often preserved and used in dried arrangements. Honesty prefers well-drained soil and thrives in partial shade. Its dainty looking flowers will look lovely beside bulb-shaped blooms like tulips.
If you are looking for ones that produce scented blooms, then Matthiola Incana is a great choice. Coming from the mustard family, this is popular in cottage gardens with its narrow leaves and fragrant flowers. It is relatively short and reaches only 1 to 3 feet in height. Matthiola Incana blooms in a variety of colors including lavender, white, yellow and pink.
Tradescantia Pallida is perhaps the most popular perennial that takes the shape of a heart. Hence, it is no wonder that this is nicknamed Purple Heart, though occasionally, gardeners also refer to it as “Moses in the Basket.” Tradescantia Pallida’s flowers grow on the end of its fleshy stems and come in pale shade, which perfectly contrasts its long and dark leaves. This low-growing option is often used as a ground cover or bedding. It can also be placed in baskets, containers or hanging pots and be an instant welcome accent on your porch.
Another heart-shaped and equally stunning purple flower is Blackcurrant Swirl Moonflower, which is often called Datura or Devil’s Trumpet because of its swirling trumpet flowers. Datura has heart-shaped petals that bloom in pale to deep purple shade, and grow up to 5 feet, making this ideal for landscaping. This type thrives in alkaline or neutral soil, and may sometimes attract pests such as spider mites or whiteflies. Once your Datura is ready to be transplanted, provide up to 4 feet spacing between each one and make sure to avoid damaging its roots. One word of caution, though. This may look delicate and mysterious, but it is highly poisonous so make sure to cultivate it away from children and pets.